Cheating Marcus

This is truly a Marcus Monday since my post is about him. Yesterday, I went to Smashwords to buy the book of a fellow Six Sentence Sunday participant, Jessica E. Subject. It was on sale at half off so I decided to hunt around and pick up another sale book while I was there. I did a search on a number of different terms and began to scroll through the titles and covers. After a few minutes, I was stopped cold in my tracks by a cover that shocked me.

Yep. It was a cover with Marcus on it. You can see it HERE.

There’s a link at the bottom of the book to report it. I tried to report it for copyright infringement because I KNEW there was no way that author had purchased the right to use that image. Images of Marcus Schenkenberg, the first male supermodel, were not on any of the royalty free stock image sites I frequented, although I have seen him on the sites that sell managed rights images. For those of you who don’t know the difference, to put it simply, royalty free images are very inexpensive while managed rights images are very, very expensive.

At any rate, I couldn’t report the book for copyright infringement because I hadn’t purchased it. Seems that Smashwords has a policy of not letting you report someone for doing something wrong unless you line their pockets and that of the author first. Well, shit. That put my panties in a twist. Now, I was not only pissed at the author who has a cover using an image that should have cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to use, a famous image even, but I was pissed at the publisher/distributor for not have a means of reporting the infringement.

Now, you could say I’m infringing as well because I post his image here, but a lot of people post his image around the net because they are fans. Going after your fans is a tough thing. It’s expensive and could be derogatory to one’s career so most celebs don’t pursue that. Besides, I’m not selling anything using his face. This author, on the other hand, is making money on a book that is promoted using his easily recognizable face and body and I would think he’d have pretty good grounds to send the author and Smashwords a DCMA notice and/or a letter threatening to sue.

So I’m pondering whether to contact the author or contact Marcus’s agent. I think I might try an email to the author first out of courtesy. They may have paid someone to make that cover and not realized the artist infringed on Marcus’s rights. As an artist who spends a lot of money on images annually in order to ensure I’m not infringing on someone’s rights, I’m outraged at the lack of professionalism shown here. And I realize this author isn’t the only one who thinks it’s okay to just take whatever images you find on the net and use them as they please. But I can’t let this go. People need to know that this isn’t okay. It’s the same thing as pirates giving your book away.

Well, now I’m getting off my soapbox because it’s time to go to work. Here’s a beautiful Marcus who is here for your pleasure and mine and is NOT selling anything for me.

I hope you have a great Monday!

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26 Responses to Cheating Marcus

  1. Wow! That’s good to know. Thanks for the info, Lex, and best of luck with straightening out the Marcus issue.

  2. Wow! That’s good to know. Thanks for the info, Lex, and best of luck with straightening out the Marcus issue.

  3. Jardonn Smith says:

    I think I’m confused as to why the author using model’s photo for book cover is a copyright infringement, which it probably is, but using a Foo Fighters song to promote a book and video design service in a video book trailer that appears on a personal blog is not a copyright violation as well. Can somebody explain the rules on the two for me?

    • Winter says:

      Some record labels have agreements with You Tube allowing use of their songs in exchange for a buy link to the MP3. If they don’t have an agreement YouTube strips the song from the video. So songs on YouTube do have permission otherwise YouTube would have removed it.

  4. Jardonn Smith says:

    I think I’m confused as to why the author using model’s photo for book cover is a copyright infringement, which it probably is, but using a Foo Fighters song to promote a book and video design service in a video book trailer that appears on a personal blog is not a copyright violation as well. Can somebody explain the rules on the two for me?

    • Winter says:

      Some record labels have agreements with You Tube allowing use of their songs in exchange for a buy link to the MP3. If they don’t have an agreement YouTube strips the song from the video. So songs on YouTube do have permission otherwise YouTube would have removed it.

  5. Matthew Lang says:

    There’s also a difference between commercial and non-commercial use when it comes to using images. If you’re not using the image with the intent to make money and it’s public domain (i.e. available freely on the net), chances are you can link it, show it and use it for non-money making activities. Admittedly it could be said you’re using it on a professional blog, but you’re not using it to draw in buyers here.

    A really good check is to see if you can find a creative commons image–or make friends with artists so you can get good images at affordable prices… if you’re self publishing of course!

    Great post Lex! Thanks!

    • Winter says:

      Matthew – This is my personal blog not my professional one under Lex Valentine so it’s definitely personal use here. I understand quite a bit about rights when it comes to images. I’ve a friend who is a Getty Images photographer. His images are managed rights not royalty free so he makes considerably more money off the images he has at the Getty stock house. My sense is that most of the images used on that guy’s books would fall under managed rights because the subjects are well known.

  6. Matthew Lang says:

    There’s also a difference between commercial and non-commercial use when it comes to using images. If you’re not using the image with the intent to make money and it’s public domain (i.e. available freely on the net), chances are you can link it, show it and use it for non-money making activities. Admittedly it could be said you’re using it on a professional blog, but you’re not using it to draw in buyers here.

    A really good check is to see if you can find a creative commons image–or make friends with artists so you can get good images at affordable prices… if you’re self publishing of course!

    Great post Lex! Thanks!

    • Winter says:

      Matthew – This is my personal blog not my professional one under Lex Valentine so it’s definitely personal use here. I understand quite a bit about rights when it comes to images. I’ve a friend who is a Getty Images photographer. His images are managed rights not royalty free so he makes considerably more money off the images he has at the Getty stock house. My sense is that most of the images used on that guy’s books would fall under managed rights because the subjects are well known.

  7. sarah walker says:

    I know Marcus must be extremely busy. I looked him up on google and wow! He’s been everywhere. I wonder if he’s even aware of this. It might be something to pass on, if you can’t find a place to complain. I am certain Marcus could find a place.

  8. sarah walker says:

    I know Marcus must be extremely busy. I looked him up on google and wow! He’s been everywhere. I wonder if he’s even aware of this. It might be something to pass on, if you can’t find a place to complain. I am certain Marcus could find a place.

  9. Sidney Ayers says:

    It will let you report the book. I just reported it. You can only REVIEW the book if you purchase it, though.

  10. Sidney Ayers says:

    It will let you report the book. I just reported it. You can only REVIEW the book if you purchase it, though.

  11. Alyssa Lyons says:

    There are some cover models, like Jimmy Thomas, who sell posed photos of themselves alone and with female models specifically for use as romance novel covers for small press and indies. None of the buyers has an exclusive license, so it is possible that both authors or their publishers happened to buy a license for the same photo. I don’t know if Marcus Schenkenberg does it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was no theft here.

  12. Alyssa Lyons says:

    There are some cover models, like Jimmy Thomas, who sell posed photos of themselves alone and with female models specifically for use as romance novel covers for small press and indies. None of the buyers has an exclusive license, so it is possible that both authors or their publishers happened to buy a license for the same photo. I don’t know if Marcus Schenkenberg does it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was no theft here.

  13. Joelene says:

    I smell a lawsuit. Wow. Unbelievable and so unprofessional.

  14. Joelene says:

    I smell a lawsuit. Wow. Unbelievable and so unprofessional.

  15. Contact his agent. This kind of stuff is happening more and more frequently.

  16. Contact his agent. This kind of stuff is happening more and more frequently.

  17. JP says:

    I’m hoping the author is unaware of copyright infringement, but using the image of a well known person is a no-no – especially when showing the face – if you don’t have that person’s written permission. With so many royalty free photo sites out there it’s a bit silly to be using a celebrity’s image on the cover.

  18. JP says:

    I’m hoping the author is unaware of copyright infringement, but using the image of a well known person is a no-no – especially when showing the face – if you don’t have that person’s written permission. With so many royalty free photo sites out there it’s a bit silly to be using a celebrity’s image on the cover.

  19. Lex,

    Although it’s unlikely, she could also be friends of the model, who gave her permission to use it. I certainly know enough models and actors to acquire the right to use their pictures.

    I think the best thing to do is email the author and let her know that the cover could cause her a lot of trouble. That’s what I would want in her place.

    Debra

  20. Lex,

    Although it’s unlikely, she could also be friends of the model, who gave her permission to use it. I certainly know enough models and actors to acquire the right to use their pictures.

    I think the best thing to do is email the author and let her know that the cover could cause her a lot of trouble. That’s what I would want in her place.

    Debra

  21. Rick R. Reed says:

    The courteous thing to do would be to contact the author first. More often than not, people are clueless when they do stuff like this, so I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. If he doesn’t explain or take it down within a couple of days, I’d THEN contact the model’s agent–if the photo is being used without his permission, that’s simply WRONG.

  22. Rick R. Reed says:

    The courteous thing to do would be to contact the author first. More often than not, people are clueless when they do stuff like this, so I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. If he doesn’t explain or take it down within a couple of days, I’d THEN contact the model’s agent–if the photo is being used without his permission, that’s simply WRONG.