Digital Publisher Trestle Press Dinged For Stealing Cover Art
Today's cautionary tale: Trestle Press, an independent digital publisher, has been accused of stealing artwork for covers.
The story is playing out on discussion boards (here and here), with plenty of examples of images it seems hard to believe they got the license for, like the comic book character Ghost Rider, the main character from the video games series Hitman, and even a photo of the titular characters from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
The scandal hit early this morning and Trestle has since posted a response on its website, explaining that they tried to license images, but sometimes couldn't get in contact with the artists.
We stand by the fact that if we have used any copyrighted artwork that we have contacted the artist or made every possible attempt to contact the artist. In many cases, we have requested usage permission and made payment when asked.
In cases where no contact was made or no copyright holder found, we apologize for the usage and have removed the identified images.
There's two very important lessons to be had here:
First, if you can't get in contact with the artist, maybe don't use the image.
Second, research is your best weapon against getting tied up with unprofessional outfits like this. Ultimately, the writers who signed with Trestle are going to suffer, and that's a shame. Digital publishing offers fantastic opportunities to bring writers to market and reach new audiences. It's also an easy place to get jammed up.
Be careful out there. And don't steal artwork.
(And I tip my hat to Keith Rawson, for bringing this to our attention.)
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