I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgiving weekends! Did anyone get a Christmas tree yet? I saw a surprising number of cars with trees up on their roof racks, and while I love having a Christmas tree I know better than to get one this early. I have a bad habit of forgetting to put water in the the stand, so our trees have a tendency to dry up rather faster than one might hope. If we got one a whole month head it would look exactly like that tree in How The Grinch Stole Christmas by December 25th... you know... a bare dried up brown thing with no needles whatsoever :)
So how exciting is this? We've got an Oh Susanna question today! It feels like it's been ages!
Here's the question of the day:
Oh, Susanna, lately there has been a lot of talk about bloggers putting pictures (not their own pictures that they have taken, but images found on sites like Google) on their blogs. But I have seen some picture books read in their entirety on YouTube with each spread visible. Isn't this really chancy, too? Does this break copyright rules? Or does an author feel that this is a wonderful form of advertisement for their books?
I have to say, this is something I have wondered too, because I have also seen picture books on YouTube in this form and I simply can't believe it. My knowledge of law is not as extensive as you might think, given that you can't swing a cat in my family without hitting a lawyer :) (my grandfather, both my parents, and one of my brothers are all lawyers!) I don't think any of my contracts specifically say it is against copyright to read the book aloud and show all the pictures in a YouTube video, but the message of most contracts, whether they're that specific or not, is quite clear. The general idea is NOT to give away the book you worked so hard on and that the publisher spent a lot of time and money producing.
And make no mistake, that is what you're doing. If you read a picture book in its entirety and show all the pictures in a YouTube video you have given away your book (or someone else's should you happen to be reading a book that's not your own.) Where is the incentive for anyone to buy the book if they can view it whenever they want for free? I would think that was a serious copyright infringement, far worse than posting a single picture you don't own.
By making a book available in this way, you are potentially taking away someone's royalties and cutting into their sales numbers. You are sharing something that isn't yours to share.
In answer to the second part of your question, although I as an author would be flattered if someone liked one of my books enough to share it in this way, I would be very unhappy and hurt if someone were to do it. The only entity that would have the right to do something like that is the publisher, and they would have no reason to.
I'd be very interested to hear from everyone, though, what you think about this. Is it okay to make videos such as those described above? Would you feel like you were doing the author/illustrator a favor, or celebrating the book, or helping in some way? I'm looking forward to the discussion, because maybe I'm wrong...!
Have a great day, everyone! :)