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.