On Today’s “ Days of Our Self Publishing Lives” (the DOSPeL, if you will) we lead with the saga of the cover art. When we last met with our author and heroine, Juice, she had- in the 11th hour- scrapped her own version of the book cover, which everyone else hated, and utterly revised the cover using a wallpaper photo she found on www.superbwallpaper.com. The new cover had passed through Amazon’s stringent review process, and all that held us back from publication was obtaining the license/approval of the photo’s owner. Weeks then passed without being able to obtain any sort of response from the website or the photo owner.
INT. AM, FRIDAY MARCH 22, 2013. JUICE, DRESSED IN VINTAGE HALSTON AND A PINK PAIR OF JIMMY CHOO KITTEN HEELED SLIPPERS, HOLDS A MIMOSA, GAZING OUT THE WINDOW INTO THE SUNLIGHT OF A SOCAL MORNING, THE SMELL OF JASMINE LINGERING FROM THE PREVIOUS
SUMMERS SPRING EVE. CROSSING STAGE RIGHT IN A DETERMINED FASHION, SHE DRAMATICALLY SLIDES ONTO HER WORK CHAIR AND STARES INTENTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN.
Nothing. Not a gawd damned thing, no response from these people. Its been weeks already, I need to publish this book NOW. If I don’t we’ll never be able to afford to send Scoutkat to the Methadone clinic before he steals and sells all our jewelry at Cash4 Gold.
JUICE FURIOUSLY PENS YET ANOTHER EMAIL REQUEST FOR LICENSE TO USE THE PHOTO, DESPERATE KNOWING EVERYTHING HINGES ON THIS PHOTO. CAMERA PANS TO COMPUTER SCREEN WHICH READS:
“3RD RECORDED WRITTEN REQUEST FOR USE OF PHOTO: Hi, this is my third (recorded) written request to use the photo entitled “martini glasses – 3969″ by the artist “fartsy” on the cover of my self published book.
If you cannot give permission to use it, would you please forward my request to the artist, and let me know you have done so, or send me the artist’s contact information?
Please please please let me know you have received this request and that you will respond. In the event I do not get a response from you today, I will assume that means you and the artist have given me permission to use the photo on the cover of my book. Thank you, LA Juice”
THE EMAIL ELICITS A NEAR IMMEDIATE RESPONSE, CAMERA PANS TO JUICE’S SHOCKED FACE. MUSIC SWELLS AND CUT TO PALMOLIVE COMMERCIAL.
The email is from someone in Romania whose nom de plume is Endre Szasz*, and he is not pleased, feeling that Juice has overstepped her bounds. But Juice is just happy to have any sort of response, until she quickly realizes that if the owner is in Romania, he isn’t likely to assert his rights to the photo in the US, and she can probably use the photo without fear of repercussion.
She quickly pulls up the list of Berne Convention participants, believing that there is no way Romania is a member. Sadly she is wrong, and that if these people wanted to they could initiate an infringement action under the treaty. Still, a guy from an Eastern European Country who operates a website that offers free downloads of all its inventory, without any obvious means of income (such as advertising, membership subscription, payment for the items, etc…)- would such a person be willing to expose himself to US Jurisdiction to preserve his rights in a photo he displays but may or may not own? And what if the website had a more nefarious purpose- such as to infect its users with viruses via the downloads?
After berating herself for falling for the oldest trick on the interwebs (free download of what is likely a computer destroying/bank account sniffing virus) Juice hedged her bets that the website was just a front, and that since it is now likely that her computer has the equivalent of IP syphilis running rampant through her hard drive due to the idiocy of downloading free stuff from a Romanian website operated on Russian servers, she may as well just tell the guy to go faulk himself and use the photo anyway. “Borrowing” a photo, even from Eastern Europe makes her uneasy, but if the Romanian isn’t going to play nice, neither will the snotty Amerikan.
Then, for reasons that she cannot understand (but probably related to the Romanian just wanting to get Juice off his back and stop wasting his time with snotty legalese) as she prepares to send yet another smart-assed email, “Endre” has a change of heart. He stops taunting and insulting her and politely explains he tried to contact the photo owner, to no avail, since his emails to the owner are bouncing back, and he has no other means to find him/her.
“Endre” then offers to recreate the photo for Juice, for free, if she will just stop with the long boorish assholy emails. She quickly agrees, forgetting her earlier trepidation about downloading things for free from Romania. A deal is quickly made, and Juice finds Mr. ‘Endre Szasz” to be a generous person who refuses money and only asks that she plug his website on her blog.
While waiting for the photo to arrive, Juice remembers a trick she learned from one of the readers of Simian Idiot: dropping a photo into the search line of Google images will bring up results- there may be a way to find the photo author other than through Endre!
She quickly drag and drops the photo into the search line, and the results are not pretty.
Only 3-4 websites, none of which are www.superbwallpaper.com all of which appear-by their thumbnails and URLS- to be Russian porn sites.
Sigh. Sure its further evidence that no one who actually owns this photo is likely to expose themselves to U.S. Jurisdiction or otherwise assert their rights to ownership over the photo- but Juice, being a corporate lawyer- is too risk adverse chicken-shit to risk statutory sanction or having to turn over a portion of the
meager profits losses recouped that she might make from the 200 copies of her book that are likely to be sold. So Juice does what any pussy-azzed lawyer would. She pours herself a drink and waits until the morning for Endre’s photo.
The gorgeous replacement photo arrives on Saturday. It’s magnificent. She spends time, once more revising the cover and submits to createspace.com. Then she waits. And waits and waits.
Createspace.com rejects the cover for the first time in the history of cover submissions. And rejects with no explanation.
Juice does what any half crazed, wholly frustrated author would, she resubmits, and waits.
CUE CLOSING MUSIC SWELL. CAMERA PANS OUT TO SCREEN SHOT OF CREATESPACE.COM WEBSITE. BARITONE DON PARDO-ESQUE ANNOUNCER VOICE RISE ABOVE THE MUSIC SWELL.
BARITONE DON PARDO-ESQUE ANNOUNCER
CHARLES NELSON RIELLY
Will Juice ever publish this book? Will she ever get approval from createspace, or has something far more nefarious happened? Will she crack and just use the Russian porn photo, throwing caution to the wind? And will any of this happen before her computer it taken over by Eastern Europeans because she twice idiotically downloaded files from websites and people she did not know, unleashing a virus that will soon lead to the hijacking of all her personal information and control of the blog and book and bank accounts?
Stay tuned until the next episode of DOSPeL, and never ever download anything from any website coming from anywhere, especially the Eastern Bloc. Hells bells, I shouldn’t even have to tell you that.
* According to Wikipedia, Endre Szasz is a deceased Hungarian Graphic Artist.