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Author letter, draft

Author and venue pictures

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1timspalding
Aug 29, 2006, 12:42pm Top

Okay, here's my go at it. Anyone want to chip in--maybe someone with more letter-writing experience?

Dear Name,

I am writing to you about the website LibraryThing. LibraryThing, sometimes referred to as "MySpace for books," helps booklovers catalog their personal library, discover new books and connect with others who share their taste. LibraryThing is an open, collaborative project, driven by readers like me.

I am writing to ask about using a photograph of you to illustrate your author page on LibraryThing.

Here is your author page:
http://www.librarything.com/author/author

And here is the page for Title of most popular book:
http://www.librarything.com/catalog/work

Would you be willing to let LibraryThing show one of the photos on describe page, optionally with URL? I would be happy to add any credit and copyright notice you would like me to.

Finally, LibraryThing has a "LibraryThing Authors" section, where authors showcase their personal libraries for the benefit of their fans. (Who wouldn't want to peek at the library of their favorite author?) If this interests you, you can find out more at http://www.librarything.com/librarything_author.php .

Thank you for your time,
name

2lilithcat
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 1:50pm Top

I'd rephrase it a bit:

I am writing to ask about using a photograph of you to illustrate your author page on LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com).

LibraryThing is a website that allows people to catalogue their personal libraries, discover new books and connect with others who share their tastes. It is an open, collaborative project, driven by readers like me.

Every author with a book catalogued on LibraryThing has an author page. Many of these include photographs or other images of the author.

Here's your author page: http://www.librarything.com/author/author

There is a photograph of you {on your website} {on the back cover of your latest book} {on your agent's website} that I would like to upload to that page. {Insert link to photo so the author can see which one it is!} Would you be willing to give me permission to do so? I will, of course, include any credit or copyright notice that you require.

3alibrarian
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 1:52pm Top

Would we need different form letters depending on whether we might addressing someone other than the author in some cases: agent, publisher, even a fan, etc. ?

And possibly institutions that might allow use of images if permission is requested first.

4lilithcat
Aug 29, 2006, 1:55pm Top

I think the proposed template could be easily adjusted.

Dear Agent:

I am writing to ask about using a photograph of {author}, whom you represent, to illustrate her author page on LibraryThing (http://www.librarything.com).

LibraryThing is a website that allows people to catalogue their personal libraries, discover new books and connect with others who share their tastes. It is an open, collaborative project, driven by readers like me.

Every author with a book catalogued on LibraryThing has an author page. Many of these include photographs or other images of the author.

Here's {your client's} author page: http://www.librarything.com/author/author

There is a photograph of your client on your website that I would like to upload to that page. {Insert link to photo so the agent can see which one it is!} Would you be willing to give me permission to do so? I will, of course, include any credit or copyright notice that you require.


And skip the paragraph about LT Authors.

5timspalding
Aug 29, 2006, 3:57pm Top

Lilithcat: I very much like your draft. Much better than mine!

1. I *do* think we should mention becoming an LT author. I propose:

"PS: If you're interested, you can join LibraryThing as a "LibraryThing Author," showcasing some of your personal books for interested readers. Find out more at http://www.librarything.com/librarything_author.php" What do you think?

2. I don't think we should have separate letters for agents (actually *publicists*, the agent wouldn't normally handle this sort of thing). If no author email is available, I think a quick note at the top would be appropriate, and keep the letter itself reader-to-author. If the subject line is "photo permission" it will find the right person.

3. Although there are an infinitude of possible recipients, I propose we have one letter. People will adjust it accordingly.

Tim

6lilithcat
Aug 29, 2006, 4:13pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

7lilithcat
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 4:42pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

8lilithcat
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 4:47pm Top

Okay, I don't know what's going on! But I'm trying again to post this once and once only!

1. I *do* think we should mention becoming an LT author. I propose:

"PS: If you're interested, you can join LibraryThing as a "LibraryThing Author," showcasing some of your personal books for interested readers. Find out more at http://www.librarything.com/librarything_author.php" What do you think?


That's great! I only meant to leave that out in a separate letter to agents/publicists/etc. But on reflection, I like your idea of the same letter with a note on top.

9rosinalippi
Aug 29, 2006, 5:23pm Top

My own perspective on this: I wouldn't want my agent to have to deal with something like this, and (like the vast majority of authors) I don't have a publicist.

However, I get emails all the time about one thing or another (usually people asking for a donation to a charity auction) which I handle on my own.

Finally, I would be really careful in wording the invitation to become an LT author. It would be easy to read that as you-get-in-for-free.

10timspalding
Aug 29, 2006, 6:46pm Top

I'd gladly do a you-get-in-free if it only applied to "big-time" (or "medium-time") authors. I want Stephen King to understand he can post his LibraryThing for free, and I'll give every friend of his a free account and a cupcake. But there's now way to do that without putting pepper up someone else's nose...

You do, however, get it free to 50 books (to 200, actually), and 50 is all you need to be listed.

11timspalding
Aug 29, 2006, 6:55pm Top

Hey. Testing the system!

12timspalding
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 7:56pm Top

It works.

13BoPeep
Aug 29, 2006, 8:35pm Top

If what you are testing is the 'if your message has not appeared' message, please consider rewording. 'Momentarily' makes most non-Americans wince. There are plenty of alternative and unambiguous ways of phrasing it. ;-)

14rikker
Edited: Aug 29, 2006, 10:15pm Top

Not to mention that it currently says "If your message has not already appeared, it will be appear in a moment." (emphasis added)

15GreyHead
Edited: Aug 30, 2006, 8:47am Top

The message now reads OK but mainly misses the point, what happens is that LibraryThing can take for ever from hitting the submit button to the page refreshing - it's in that time that the duplicates get posted. And the neat message doesn't show until the page has refreshed.

Oh, and while your messing with footer code please will you put a 'Your Groups' link down here so I can click it directly without having to go back to the top of the page. Please. (You could add Your Posts etc too but I don't actually use those.)

16BoPeep
Aug 30, 2006, 8:46am Top

Oooh, yes, seconded. Scrolling up and down gets quite tiresome in the really big threads.

17timspalding
Sep 1, 2006, 10:30am Top

How about if I do this? (Static top.)

I'm thinking of doing this to basically all pages.

18GreyHead
Sep 1, 2006, 10:45am Top

Much better, but locks out a chunk of real estate. Would be neat if you could collapse the title bar to just the tab bar and have the logo and Tag-line vanish on scroll. Just a thought for a Friday afternoon.

19timspalding
Sep 1, 2006, 11:36am Top

I made an author letter page. You can find it when you upload a picture. It automatically fills in the author URL, and has an email link that will work for most users (it uses the mailto: syntax).

We should probably write up a rights-holder email. Of course, technically ALL emails should be to the rights holder. But if an author wants to release a picture to which they don't actually have rights, that's their misrepresentation, I think.

Tim

20lilithcat
Sep 1, 2006, 12:19pm Top

Tim, that's great! One typo, though, where you direct folks to the letter: "Tim, Lilithcat and others can up with it on Talk here" should read "came up with it"!

21boekerij
Sep 1, 2006, 2:13pm Top

Tim,

In re Static top (Message 17): I do not like it at all.

With i.a. MSIE6 it doesn't work, i.e.: with that browser, a tall white border is added above the oridinary menu border. Nope static. And the latter is the best part of it, I think.

With e.g. Opera9, I get the static border indeed. But, as GreayHead said, it locks out a chunk of real estate, thus narrowing my viewport. I do not like this.

Even, I do not think that static (top) border is an answer to the original question. Those who can' t hit their Home button--and thus get immediate access to the side bar menu residing on top (Your World etc.)--and may be others, too, might think it convenient if the side bar menu (i.e. Your World etc.) were available on page bottom, too. In the--unless on top of the page--now empty left border, enough real estate seems to be available for this.

In re Picture rights and the letter (Message 19): I do not like this, neither.

We should probably write up a rights-holder email. Of course, technically ALL emails should be to the rights holder. But if an author wants to release a picture to which they don't actually have rights, that's their misrepresentation, I think. (My stress added.)

The latter stinks, I think.

It cannot--and shall not--be our purpose to make use of an author's (too) good faith to bring him in troubles.

For that matter, the letter 'd better contain a clear condition and/or warning: "IF you are holding the rights (...)" or even: "Please note that you can only release a picture to which you do actually hold the rights. Make sure you do."

If the author is holding the rights to his picture, there is no problem at all with this note added. On the contrary, I think: he will be pleased to learn LT does not want to give him any troubles.

On the other hand, if we do not mention this, the author might feel trapped--and right so.

The that's their misrepresentation, I think. idea stinks. Methinks.

You did ask and explain to me:
Are you the © holder on the image of <author>? The
copyright section needs to justify the use, not just list the
© holder.

I think authors have got the right to get these questions, too.

Niks But if an author wants to release a picture to which they don't actually have rights, that's their misrepresentation, I think.

It stinks. Methinks.

22lilithcat
Sep 1, 2006, 3:17pm Top

I have had my first response (positive) to sending this letter.

Tim - do you want us to forward these permissions to you for your records?

23Osbaldistone
Edited: Sep 5, 2006, 11:49am Top

I too just got a positive reply (and a thank-you for introducing them to LT). I've documented the approval date and source in the copyright info field with the photo. I can save the email, but, again, should it be forwarded to anyone at LT?

24alibrarian
Sep 5, 2006, 11:52am Top

I've had four permissions so far. Authors and agents seem postive. In the absence of instruction, I've forwarded the e-mails to Tim and Abby (and saved them for myself too)

25Osbaldistone
Edited: Sep 5, 2006, 11:55am Top

Any advice regarding author website press photos. Since they are online specifically to download for author promotional purposes, is that sufficient permission to use (with appropriate credit to the photographer, and documentation of the source, of course)? I just uploaded a nice press photo of Douglas Adams, but will remove if need be.

BTW - the Douglas Adams Touchstone should work, but it currently just says "Loading".

26alibrarian
Edited: Sep 5, 2006, 12:18pm Top

Promotion use and being on an author's website is not sufficient unless they give explicit permission there to use (Anne Rice actually purposely put up public domain pictures)

Send the permission letter to get clearance.

27ablachly
Sep 6, 2006, 11:43am Top

In response to messages 22, 23 and 24 - yes, please do send us copies of any permission letters you receive. -Thanks

28dpkilfeather
Sep 6, 2006, 3:16pm Top

Hi. It should perhaps also be considered that many author pix are not going to be the copyright of the author, so perhaps they cannot show them without incurring expense. For example if you check out my profile you will see that my picture is accredited to Stefan Venter who lets me use his picture of me in my book as long as he is properly accredited as the photographer. Life is so complicated. Love to all, Des D.P. Kilfeather

29rikker
Edited: Sep 6, 2006, 8:42pm Top

It looks like you've touchstoned the wrong author. Should be D.P. Kilfeather--I had to click "others" to get the right choice. :)

However, as you noted, the picture you're talking about is in the user profile, not the author page. The link in your signature tricked me!

30timspalding
Sep 8, 2006, 2:05am Top

To boekerij, regarding "it stinks."

I think it would be a VERY rare author whose publicity photo couldn't be released by the author for publicity. LibraryThing's goal is to point people toward reflection on the legalities--not to teach them, since that has dangers--and to require that they vouch for it, warranting that they have the right to release it. It would be possible for an author to err, just as it would be possible for LibraryThing to confidently post a picture than looked 150 years old but was really a modern daguerreotype. I'm not sure what the alternative is, apart from not having photos.

31rosinalippi
Sep 9, 2006, 12:48am Top

My experience is that dpkilfeather's situation is the most common. I can use and publish my official author photo as I please without paying the photographer for each individual use -- but I must include his credit. Which I did, if you'll note, when I uploaded it here. Photo by Nurmi Husa.

Photographer generally work like this for promotional photos. An individual photographer probably would go out of business if she insisted on royalties for every use.

32timspalding
Sep 9, 2006, 2:48am Top

Hey. Who flagged me? :)

33sunny
Edited: Oct 3, 2006, 5:13am Top

For what it's worth:

When I contact somebody where I expect an assistant to handle the mail I write "Dear NAME (or her assistant)" or "Dear NAME or who gets to read this".

When I write not to the author directly but to somebody who has a picture of them online I write "I will, of course, include any credit or copyright notice that you require and a link to the source of the picture (your site)."

34RoseCityReader
Oct 26, 2006, 4:25pm Top

RE: 27

How do we send copies of permission letters? I recieved an email from Dorothy Allison's assistant giving permission to use her personal photos from her website. To whom do I forward that message and to what email address?

35lilithcat
Oct 26, 2006, 5:13pm Top

Forward it to tim@librarything.com and/or abby@librarything.com.

It's also a good idea, when you post a copyrighted image which you have permission to use, to indicate that in the "copyright" field so that others (like me! yes, it was me! I confess!) don't flag the photo for removal.

36davidt8
May 20, 2008, 8:15am Top

Are we limited to paper permission letters, or are permissions by email, with details like the photographer, who gave permission, etc, accepted?

My first attempt at an author photo has been limited to sending an email, asking the author to join and then provide photo(s) himself. He has two web sites with photos.

37lilithcat
May 20, 2008, 9:03am Top

Permission by email is fine. In fact, it's probably easier! Just forward the email to abby at librarything.com so the site has a record of it.

38davidt8
Jul 7, 2008, 9:55am Top

If I take a photo of a local venue, what do I need to say for the permissions, beyond "Photo by davidt8" ?

39christiguc
Jul 7, 2008, 12:14pm Top

>38 davidt8: Just in case you ever change your username, you can say "I took this photo. Okay for use on LT." or something like that. But that isn't necessary.

40Anneli
Edited: Jul 7, 2008, 1:02pm Top

What if the author gives the permission in some other language than English?

corrected a typo

41christiguc
Jul 7, 2008, 12:54pm Top

I would say forward the email to Abby (just so LT has the permission on file) regardless of language. Then, you can note "1) Permission for use given by author. 2) Email forwarded to Abby." or something equivalent.

All authors can't be expected to give permission in English, and if needed, the permission can always be translated.

Group: Author and venue pictures

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