Should I Be Upset?

I’ve gotten a few emails from fans about this. You can’t copyright an idea – but does this come too close to copying the execution? I wonder what my artist, Nathalia Suellen , would think? What do you think?

Update: The issue has been resolved .

Update 2: But not to everyone’s satisfaction .


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132 Responses to Should I Be Upset?

  1. Anne Frasier says:

    holy crap. :( :( :(

    i would be spitting mad. wasn’t there some big stink a year or so ago over a cover that was an obvious ripoff? And the ripper offer had to redo the cover? my memory is so bad.

  2. Anne Frasier says:

    and it’s a Harper Collins book. That’s earns another holy crap from me.

  3. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    I’m pretty mad! I’ll be writing a letter to Harper Collins as soon as I find out from my artist that she didn’t provide this image! (which I highly doubt)

  4. Hmm. I have looked at the two covers a few times since you posted them and have decided that it is too close to be coincidental. I think you have the better cover though, but I would be “spitting mad,” as Anne says.

  5. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Thanks D. I feel crappy about this.

  6. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    This is terrible. I just heard from Nathalia. Not only did she NOT sell them the art, but they approached her and tried to buy it, and she refused!

  7. Cate Rowan says:

    Wow. Just….wow.

    HC must have balls like the Death Star to do this…especially after trying to buy the image from the original artist.

  8. Cathy Ward says:

    Nathalia’s art was so striking I commented about it in my review of Spiderwork on GoodReads. This is an astonishing ripoff. I, too, will be contacting Harper Collins. This is a disgrace. A publisher with the length of experience as HC should know better.

  9. Cathy Ward says:

    Interesting. Just looked for this on Amazon and they don’t show an image. The book isn’t out until Feb. 2012 so perhaps Nathalia has time to make sure her work isn’t stolen.

  10. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    I hope so, Cathy. It’s doubly upsetting when the artist refused to sell the art to them.

  11. Zetsumeimaru says:

    People are idiots. Especially these publishers. Suing tiem?

  12. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    They’d be the first to jump on a self-publisher who used one of their covers, I think.

  13. Farah says:

    That’s utter crap. I just seen Nathalia’s post about this. How dare HC think they could pull this without anyone noticing. I’ll definitely be writing a letter.

  14. I would tweet some of the bigger romance blogs and give them the story. Make a stink about it.

  15. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    It’s outrageous

  16. K.C. May says:

    If I were the author, I would be MORTIFIED. That’s a blatant rip-off. Borrowing ideas is one thing. This is inexcusable. I’ll bet Harper Collins thinks they can get away with it, too.

  17. Julia :) says:

    Whoa that is so uncool. Seriously something needs to be done. Especially after HC contacted the artist and they refused to sell the artwork. That just makes it more obvious that they stole the idea. Classy Harper Collins. Real classy.

  18. Chel.C. says:

    Unfreaking believable. You KNOW they would freak out if it were the other way around. This is one of the problems with traditional publishing. Thinking they can do whatever they want because they’ve got lots of money. Shameful.

  19. JoAnn Ross says:

    Wow! That’s really, really blatant! I would be so upset if I had that happen to me. Or if my publisher did it. If I was the artist, I’d be furious. I’m not a lawyer, but I’d say it’s getting closer to copyright infringement than mere copying!

  20. Vee says:

    It’s obviously a copy and no one can deny that. I’d be really, really upset. I can understand if they copied a few elements from your cover but it’s way too close.

  21. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    KC – I am 100 percent sure the author knows nothing about this. She’s probably stoked about the great cover for her next book!

  22. Believe it or not, I just saw an even more blatant knock off, I wish I could find it, it was posted on facebook (I think by a publisher showing off their covers) and they were side by side. It was a woman with her back to the “camera” and her hair was twisted at the bottom and became a serpent (it was blended in really nicely with the hair) but BOTH covers had this, and it was an original idea, I couldn’t believe to see them side by side, I was wondering if they were by the same artist myself. I know I for sure checked to see if they were in the same series, and by the same author (my first thought because they were so similar) however that was not the case.

    April @ My Shelf Confessions

  23. amie borst says:

    wow! i am just FLOORED! i’m so sorry this happened and i hope it’s remedied soon!

  24. As flattering as it is to know that your work is beautiful and coveted, this situation is horrible. It amazes me how people can be so classless and just lack moral ethics. I too would be mortified if I were the author of the blatantly copied cover. Keep us posted – Sorry you’re having to deal with this!

  25. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    This is just a suspicion … but I wonder if in-house artists are starting to troll DeviantArt to look for ideas? The thing is, Nathalia said that Harper Collins approached her about using this piece and she refused them.

  26. terzap says:

    I hope this goes viral. Everyone twitter and blog this!

  27. It’s stock cover art redone. Very annoying. It’s happened to me, too, more than once. but that is such lovely art, that it’s a shame it happened. The couple on the cover of my “Seductive Secrets” recently turned up on a Mills and Boon book, for example.
    There are no end of authors it’s happening to these days, now the big pubs are using stock photography.

  28. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Lynne, I’m sorry that happened to you. But though the stock might be re-used, the actual design belongs to the artist. It would be like copying the Mona Lisa and saying “but that’s only the same red and brown and black paint anyone can buy at the store.”

  29. Isobel Carr says:

    I’d be furious if I was either author or the original artist. Only consolation is that your cover is sooooooo much better than the imitation.

  30. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Thanks, Isobel. I love my cover!

  31. Pingback: Why LK Rigel and Nathalia Suellen Should Be Upset | Kyrin's Insight

  32. Coral says:

    Well, I would be upset. That said, I agree that your cover is worlds better than that one.

    I wonder, since they approached your artist and then blatantly copied her when she refused, is there anything that she can do about it legally?

  33. MamaKitty says:

    I’m shocked that a pub like Harper Collins would so blatantly steal like that. I really hope that either you or Nathalia are going after them in court. Might not seem like “a big deal” but Nathalia worked hard on that piece of art, and it’s your cover! How extraordinarily UNCOOL and SCREWED UP!!

  34. Wow. That’s about as blatant a copy as you can get! So uncool.

  35. That can’t even be considered “inspired by”. That’s a blatant copy and I’d be mad!

  36. Owen Kennedy says:

    The Bright side is that I LOVE this cover. I want the book right now (yes…sometimes I like the book’s cover enough to want it!) I agree you have a great book cover and that is not always the case! @Cate…balls like the death star-That is hilarious. I’m sure the writer of the book will be horrified when she finds out about this. It is hard to figure out how to punish a publishing company for this blatant lack of originality and fairness without punishing the writer who normally has no say in the cover. You will have to keep us posted on how this is handled. I agree it is becoming more and more common. I almost didn’t buy a book because I thought I already owned it. Nope…just looked like the book I owned.

  37. Suzan Isik says:

    That’s outrageously uncool. I do love your cover though. I think it’s better than the rip off.

    Bad form, HC. Bad form!

  38. In that case, it’s too close to be a coincidence. It’s the same pose, the same shape of the dress, the same colour palette. Not the same buildings in the background but they’re given the same treatment, blurred with filters, etc, placed similarly.
    In a way, my assuming the pictures had the same source kind of demonstrates that. They were so close I assumed they were the results of the same session.
    Name and shame, I say.

  39. HarperCollins is part of NewsCorp. Apparently “we do what we want” applies to holdings as well as the parent.

  40. Bob Mayer says:

    When I saw the first season of Lost there were 16 exact scene in it from my first Atlantis novel. I contacted a lawyer and learned the limitations of protecting intellectual property. HC now has one of the worst boilerplate in publishing contracts to screw the author out of every penny they can get. The result is inevitable– they will go under.

    I’d take it as a compliment. and use it to promote the hell out of your books. I did it with Atlantis-Lost and had the #3 scifi bestseller (still in top 10) on Kindle and Nook for many months.

  41. Uhhhh, yeah, that is not a coincidence. Intent is definitely there. I do, like many others here, prefer your cover though. I know that doesn’t make it better! I hope you are able to pursue action to get this either changed, or at the very least have HC address it! Very disappointing!!!!

  42. Sierra says:

    *snorts* She clearly made it as far the “In Flagrante” and decided it was a literal suggestion to show you just how blazing she could make a corpus delicti just for you.

  43. Sue Santore says:

    Obviously a rip-off. They’re probably hoping you as an Indie author won’t have the money to sue them.

  44. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Thanks everyone. I’m a little overwhelmed by the fantastic support. I do feel sorry for the other author though! Please know I am SURE she had no say in this.

  45. Interesting that in a time of upheaval in the publishing industry when all traditional publishers are crying foul regarding piracy/lack of respect for intellectual property and copyright that a traditional publisher would trample all over an artist’s IP like this. Hypocrisy, anyone?

  46. Isobel Carr says:

    The copying can’t be denied, esp as the artist has documentation that. She was approached about the original. If I was her, I’d certainly contact HC & demand an apology & restitution.

  47. Avery Olive says:

    This is terrible! I’m super sorry this happened to you!

  48. J.A. Beard says:

    Wow. That’s crazy.

  49. Chacelyn says:

    Oh wow…I don’t even know where to begin with that…as a book cover artist I would be pissed if someone took my idea and change a few details. You artist should be the one to sue Harper Collins because it was an original piece.

  50. Abbey says:

    Echoing others to say that the Harper Collins version looks exactly the same. There is no way that is a coincidence. That is such an obvious ripoff, how incredibly unfair and just wrong. And it’s a cheap ripoff too, it’s nowhere near as polished and put together as the “Spiderwork” cover art.

  51. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Sarah – ain’t it the truth! ha.

    Chacelyn – I think it’s even harder for visual artists to protect their work than wordsmiths these day. Nathalia is trying to get some answers.

  52. Tara Shuler says:

    I am SO sorry this is happening. This isn’t fair to you, to your artist, or to the author of “Bewitching”, who probably has no idea what has happened. I don’t know who is responsible for this at Harper Collins, but someone needs to be held accountable.

  53. What a blatant ripoff. I hope they get sued for this.

  54. Tara Shuler says:

    You might want to contact news outlets like CNN with this story. If anyone picks it up, it could be some great publicity for your book. Goodness knows you deserve it after all this!

  55. LMR says:

    This is not a “copy.” You’re a writer. Please use language with precision.

    The BEWITCHING cover is very clearly inspired by the SPIDERWORK cover, down to imitating the composition, environment, models, color tones, mood, etc. But simply imitating these elements with one’s own art is not a crime under any copyright law on earth.

    It’s unfortunate that the BEWITCHING artist chose to so blatantly emulate the composition, mood, tone etc. of the SPIDERWORK cover, but the art is clearly original and not literally “copied.”

    If it were literally copied, it would be legally actionable.

    It’s not, so at best it’s an ethical failure on HarperCollins’s behalf.

  56. Saronai says:

    Wow, just boggling!
    Particularly after reading your later supplied comment:

    “This is terrible. I just heard from Nathalia. Not only did she NOT sell them the art, but they approached her and tried to buy it, and she refused!”

    That’s definite copyright infringement there, just too close! Right down to the friggin blackbird and city in the background. They’re both nice work, but I think I’d likely be attracted to “Spiderwork” more, if for no other reason than the title and it seems to have more of a “unique” flare in the details.

    HarperCollins should -definitely- be contacted and shown your cover and your artist’s story. Maybe nothing can be done after all, but I would like to think HC would be less likely to hire this artist again for cover work, or at least more cautious in the future.

  57. Saronai says:

    Correcting myself, it’s not -definite- copyright infringement but it’s not very ethically sound either.

    Either way, yes, both you and your cover artist have every right to be upset!

  58. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We need to respect artists’ work. I honestly don’t know the extent of copyright protection, but this HC cover sure looks like a blatant design grab after the artist refused to sell them the design.


    Speak with an IP attorney. They can tell you what, if anything, can be done.

    Then do what Bob said and make some lemonade for yourself.

    And take solace in the knowledge that one of the Big 6 ripped you guys off. Pathetic wankers.

  60. Phoenix says:

    The composition is such that, were I familiar with both books, I would think they were part of the same series. Quick, somebody write a horror novel and name it “Final Destinations”. They won’t mind someone borrowing the font for the cover, I’m sure.

  61. JL Bryan says:

    Whether it’s legal or not depends entirely on how good your lawyer is.

  62. Nicki says:

    Amazing. They clearly think they can steal with impunity.

    Don’t get mad, get a lawyer. Ask your designer to put in writing what happened when they approached her, while it’s still fresh in her mind. I’m sure any IP lawyer in the land will be willing to take this one.

  63. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Jeff! you crack me up, ha.

    Here’s what Nathalia has to say about it :

  64. Nicki says:

    ps: and Tara is right, this is hot news. All the themes are there (David versus Goliath) and it would help fill the news outlets’ seemingly endless quota of ‘indie publishing versus legacy’ stories, also tying in with the current News Corp scandal. Lemonade by the gallon.

  65. Chelle says:

    Guaranteed, that if the positions were reversed, you’d be sued so fast you wouldn’t be able to breathe. I say consult an attorney ASAP. Artwork is NOT an idea it is a completed, tangible piece of work that belongs to the artist the moment the drawing has begun. Incidentally Rhianna is being sued right now over the unauthorized recreation of a photographers work clearly identifiable in a few of her videos. So why shouldn’t you! Please, get advice regarding this from a qualified lawyer. There’s just way too much coincidence & it strongly appears your copyright has been violated. Just makes me mad that publishers insist on creating cover art yet can’t seem to activate their creativity. Just stinks!

  66. Sariah Wilson says:

    “Interesting that in a time of upheaval in the publishing industry when all traditional publishers are crying foul regarding piracy/lack of respect for intellectual property and copyright that a traditional publisher would trample all over an artist’s IP like this. Hypocrisy, anyone?”


    With all the whooping and hollering about piracy, you’d think traditional publishers would be the first ones to avoid it. This is so obviously a ripoff. And everyone’s right – were the shoe on the other foot you’d already have your “cease and desist” letter in hand.

  67. Stacey says:

    I would echo what several here have said, she should consult an IP attorney.

  68. WTFery says:

    Speaking of trolling deviant art for pictures. I was thumbing through your artists photos … and hello … does this not look like the cover of Lauren Kate’s Passion? The girl, the pose? etc? And this pic was copy righted in 2008 on deviant art. UM ….

    And then Passion’s cover

    Could just be me but ….

  69. Starla says:

    Personally, I’d be pissed. As a writer and designer myself, I see it from both angles. The Substantial Similarity issue *could* work, but like others have stated, I think that will depend on how good the attorney is that Nathalia can get. If it means anything, I agree with the assessment that your cover has the better image (the woman’s hairstyle is AMAZING!). I just don’t know how far it’d get in court. Either HC will throw a ton of money into fighting it, in which case I imagine you’re SOL, or they’ll think it’s too much hassle and change their cover. Personally, I think it’d be cheaper to pay for the new cover than for court & lawyer fees, but then again I’d have never pulled this horse doo-doo in the first place. What half-ass designer does this kind of thing? Certainly not one I’d want to work with. You have my sympathies. Please keep us updated!

  70. I can assure you that HC is in the black for breech of copyright and if taken to court they would not have a leg to stand upon. I am assuming that there is a dated and signed contract for the commission and sale of the original artwork? That is hard evidence that would go against the company and evidence that is insurmountable in a court of law, in any state or any country. It is a breech of copyright and the evidence that the images are so similar in design and layout is evident. No argument. Do not be afraid to do something about this issue, the company is counting on your hesitation and fear to be able to walk away without a slap on the wrist. In truth they are liable to pay compensation to the artist and the buyer (you) for theft of design, copyright and ownership rights. They will also be responsible for the creation of a new design for their book that is using the design rip-off., at their own expense. I hope that you will be able to chase this up, do the right thing by yourself, the artist and make a soild example for other digital artists out there who are looking to enter into the book design industry.
    I wish you all the best in this, and hope that they recieve their just rewards and you and Nathalia justice.
    Sincerely yours,
    Adara Rosalie

  71. If the image is down from the HarperCollins site, it’s possible that this was “placeholder” art. More likely, though, they attempted to pull a Tom Waits/Doritos scenario (google it; it’s astonishing in its brazenness, and the fact that the company had approached the artist made it clear that it could not have been an innocent mistake).

  72. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Adara Rosalie – I appreciate your points. This is more important than one book. The practice itself needs to be stopped. Otherwise, what protections do individual artists have?

    Kevin, I doubt this was placeholder art, for the very reasons you point out. And heh-heh about the Tom Waits scenario!

  73. Pingback: » Cover Art Infringement?

  74. Need I say something?
    I’m answering an interview with Jane from right now and i’m trying to explain step-by-step what happened. And all I can say is that was a really dishonest story of a publisher trying to buy an artist all the time. I’m really disappointed with Harper Collins and sure, Sasha Illingworth. I expected more respect from a company and even more from a art director which is supposed to be creative and original. Thanks for supporting.

  75. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Nathalia, I feel terrible that this has happened to you. I’m so grateful for the supportive messages people have left. This wonderful cover is your design, and it’s not right that Harper Collins didn’t respect your wish not to sell it to them.

  76. Cate Rowan says:

    Nathalia, do you perhaps mean Jane Litte from That’s a site with many readers, so you’ll get some great exposure for this problem.

  77. I’d be mad, and you, or the original artist, probably have a case that a sharp lawyer will take just because of the publicity. But there are old movie posters and WWII pictures that are very similar to both. Still I would sue Harper Collins and at least get the publicity out of the deal.

  78. K. T. Wells says:

    Poorly done on their part. Take consolation in the fact that imitation is the best form of flattery.

  79. That’s awful. I bet if you make a big enough stink over it they will relent. They probably don’t want to go through the hassle of a lawsuit. Hang in there!

  80. Anne Victory says:

    Holy shit, girl! Un-frickin-believable. Tweeted – keep us posted, please? And I hope your lemonade comes out plenty sweet. Btw – has Alex Flinn commented? Just curious.

  81. bob simms says:

    Outrageous, as everyone has said. I’ll repost this. HC should be ashamed of themselves. In fact, I shall refuse to let them publish my books when I am rich and famous. I might even go as far as to email them. That’ll teach them.

  82. bob simms says:

    email sent:

    Dear Harper and Collins

    I am writing to you about the artwork on your publication Bewitching by Alex Flinn. It appears you contacted Nathalia Suellen, the artist for the independent book Spiderwork by L K Rigel, with a view to buy her artwork. When she declined, it looks as though you ripped off her artwork anyway. The similarities between the two are too remarkable to be coincidence, especially given the previous communication you had with the artist. I note with interest your site contains the following legal message:

    This Site is owned and operated by HarperCollins Publishers Limited (“HarperCollins”) and the information and materials appearing on the Site (“the Content”) are displayed for personal, non-commercial use only. All software used on this Site and all Content included on this Site (including without limitation Site design, text, graphics, audio and video and the selection and arrangement thereof) is the property of HarperCollins or its suppliers and is protected by international copyright laws

    Apparently this is a case of one law for you, another for everyone else. I would ask that you urgently review the artwork for this book, especially given the current discussion the established publishing world is having re Intellectual Property rights of paper-based publishing being at threat by e-media.

    One day the world will recognise my literary genius and will beat a path to my door begging to publish my novel. At that point I will have to seriously consider whether I want to be represented by a publishing house that seems to be so ethically challenged.


    Bob Simms
    Future Nobel prize for literature winner

  83. K.C. May says:

    “KC – I am 100 percent sure the author knows nothing about this. She’s probably stoked about the great cover for her next book!”

    Oh yes, I agree. The poor author probably had no say in it at all. Traditionally published authors usually don’t, unless they’re Big Time. Can you imagine being in her position? That’s what I meant — I’d be mortified! LOL

    It sucks for everyone all the way around. I hope HC does the right thing: issues an apology to Nathalia and both authors for creating such drama, and then designs a new cover using their artists’ own creativity rather than stealing it from someone else.

  84. Jim says:

    On the plus side (and I do think there is one!), you just got a bunch of free publicity! I mean…yeah, it’s for being stolen from, but look how many comments you have!

  85. I don’t know where the author and original designer stand in regards to copyright.
    There is clearly the intent on HCS behalf to produce something similar at least.

    In the UK, I think there are laws relating to “Passing off” where someone uses images or a name similar to someone elses that could lead to confusion in the consumers mind. The damages here to the author are that if someone buys Bewitched and they chance upon the original cover, the reader will think they have already bought it.

    It doesn’t cost much to seek initial legal advice and a least send send an attorneys letter before Bewitched is published. It may make them think again.

  86. OMG! Give me a name. Give me a number! I’ll call someone!!!

  87. Cathi says:

    I would be upset and I sent an email to Harper Collins. It won’t do much of anything, but I felt someone should complain from the consumer’s end of things.

  88. Wow!! This is SO not cool! However, I was just on the website 2 minutes ago, and they have 2 different covers now. Check this out: (link removed by lkr to protect the innocent!)

    I hope this all works out for you!

  89. The link I just sent you is for yet another author!

  90. Pingback: And So We Come to This: Update on the Industry | Shaggin the Muse

  91. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Minnie – yes, that’s an entirely different book with the same title.

    Anne – as far as I know, the author hasn’t commented. KC – That’s how I feel! Maureen – you’re cracking me up!

  92. Carey Corp says:

    Wow! So sorry this happened to you LK and Nathalia. Hearing the details makes me feel-as my daughter would say-a little sickish. Hopefully something good will come from it for you both. I know your book is now on my radar. :)


  93. The bigger the fuss made over this, the more sales–for both authors.

  94. Pingback: Thursday Midday Links: What’s a Little Cover Art Copying Between Friends? - Dear Author

  95. Simon says:

    Tweeted, FB and emailed a few people with the link to this blog. This is disgraceful behavior.

  96. Meghan says:

    Well, your cover is so much better, as many others have noticed. It’s sexier and has a much stronger viewpoint. Just think of all the sales this will generate – that’s a pretty nice “downside”!

  97. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    I hope Nathalia gets more business out of this. I love my cover, as I’ve said, and I hate the idea of it being on someone else’s book.

    But this is Nathalia’s art. And her right to control her work was blatantly ignored by HC.

  98. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Everyone keeps saying I’ll get more sales – that would be nice! It hasn’t happened yet though, ha.

  99. Aimee says:

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery! Being in a graphic designer and having my work stolen is a bit upsetting. This cover is not stolen, but emulated. It has different models with different clothing, different color (though slight), different typeface, different background and a different bird in flight. Yes, the cover is ‘set up’ similarly, but it isn’t going to do you much good to try to get them to change it. It is ‘enough’ different squeak by. I feel bad for the author who gets this cover because I’m sure the anger will spill onto them (and they don’t get to make the decision).

    Take this as a very flattering complement, because that is most surely what it is.

  100. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    I don’t want to be complimented. I want my cover to be on my book.

  101. Lee says:

    The artist does have a case for copyright infringement and proof that HC was aware of the original. The designer who did this was being blatantly lazy and breaking one of the basic rules of copyright and public domain. This piece of artwork very much belongs to the creator. HC knows that. The proof is in their offer to buy the artwork. Their design team has to be schooled in the difference between copying and being inspired by someone else’s work. A designer may be inspired by someone else’s work and use a similar mood, or pose, or technique and apply it to an image wholly of their own making, but not take all of it and make a virtual duplicate. In writing terms, it’s like if someone ripped off Harry Potter by calling him Larry Kotter and sending him to Pigmarts school of Magic and Mystery where he becomes blood brothers with Don Measley…

    The artist’s rights are the same rights Rowling would have, just a different media.

  102. Darcy Reeves says:

    Considering HC had already met with the artist and, from what I gather on BB, was refused as similar design…I’d say you have ever right to fume.

    For shame, Harper. For shame.

  103. Garapan says:

    This is an obvious rip off and I hope they have made you a lot of money so that when you sue them they have more than just blood to give.

  104. I’m just adding my name to the appalled. Hopefully there’s strength in numbers. I can’t even begin to process this. As a former teacher, I want to find someone and give them a zero for copying.

  105. bob simms says:

    As a former copper I want to take someone down a dark alley and give them a good kicking.

  106. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Nathalia comments on her Goodreads thread:

    Yes, this is crazy. I’m the artist of the book of LK RIGEL.

    In September 2010, the writter LK RIGEL contact me about the licence of my artwork “City of Angels”. The licence was sold to her and now she is using it in her book “Spiderwork”.

    Some months later, to more exactly May 2011, Sasha Illingworth from Harper Collins contacted me, asking if I were interested in creating a cover to Bewitched.

    Going straight to the point, I refused the work. The reasons were quite simple:

    When she said she were interested in buy “City of Angels” she already knew the art was sold to another author. Sasha asked if even so were possible to buy the image and right after asked some informations about LK RIGEL such as (nationatity, book section). I immediately refused her proposal because I really don’t think it’s nice to have books with the same cover or something too similar. Doesn’t matter if it’s a big company or a self publisher.

    All the time this story seemed a bit dishonest and selfish. I mean, why someone want to buy a cover that is already in use? I created this artwork in 2009, nobody wanted to buy it. “City of Angels” is not the most famous or popular artwork from my gallery. But now, everybody want to buy it, suddenly. I mean, it’s not at auction.

    I feel like someone trying to buy me, because its a publisher or whatever it is. They do everything to get what they want. Doens’t really matter if you are an artist or writter. There’s no respect at all. And I wonder: where is the originality and capacity of thinking and creating of this poor art director? Harper Collins is paying its workers to copy.

    And by the way, I contacted Sasha Illingworth about this and no answers so far.
    and I just want to clarify that not all publishers are like this. This was my first disappointment with a publisher or company.

    Summing up,
    they paied another artist to copy me.


  107. Maryann says:

    I used to write for an ad agency and remember a similar situation. A designer, trying to save money in the ad budget, took her own photo in house using the same type of model, pose, clothes, business setting, colors, pen-in-hand, etc. as a stock photo she saw. (She had no idea she couldn’t do that.) The photo wasn’t exactly the same, but quite similar in composition.

    When the photographer who took the first photo saw it “imitated” in a national ad, he had his lawyer contact our agency. The designer admitted she copied the photo (and there also may have been proof that she contacted him for the price and then didn’t buy it, but I don’t remember for sure). She was inexperienced and honestly didn’t know it was wrong to to take a photo based on the one she saw; she thought that as long as she didn’t use the actual photo without paying, she’d be ok.

    Turns out she was wrong. The photog and our agency settled out of court. I don’t know the amount of money involved, but it was enough where they had a meeting with the entire creative department, writers as well as artists, telling us to never, ever do anything like this again. They repeatedly explained that it’s not just words or photographs you can steal; legally, you can be accused of stealing ideas, designs and photo compositions too. I was pretty young at the time and remember being surprised by how much copyright laws covered. (P.S. This was in the U.S.)

  108. I would be mad…and litigious. It is obvious to me that they copied it…poorly.

  109. If it weren’t for the bird, I might have said “What a startling coincidence!” But it’s the bird….it’s too much the same.

    Not. Cool.

  110. I was having the copyright discussion just yesterday with my cover designer. I looked up the laws and it clearly states any cover design is copyright protected for the designers life plus 70 years. This is right off the .gov web site. There is definitely copyright infringement here and the author and cover designer should bring a lawsuit against the big name publisher. They don’t have the right to steel designs from anyone.

  111. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    It looks like the Harper Collins cover has now been removed from Goodreads.

  112. But then, it’s News International. Have you seen what the Murdochs have been up to recently?
    It might sound daft, but the Murdochs are known to micromanage. And corporate culture tends to be pervasive.

  113. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Lynne, yikes!

  114. theanagrace says:

    LK – It’s a shame this happened, I concur that your cover is better, and I hope this is resolved in your (and Nathalia’s) favour. From Nathalia’s comments here and on the linked pages, she seems like a beacon of decency and honesty in our sadly less than decent and honest world. I love that she refused to sell the artwork a second time for the reasons she stated, and I hope HC acknowledges their wrongdoing. I’m going from here to their website to write an email. It’s not enough for them to have taken the image off of Goodreads or Amazon. You and Nathalia deserve an apology.
    I’m adding your book to my to-read pile, please continue to keep us updated on what happens.

  115. theanagrace says:

    Update! I was about to send that email to HC, and I decided to check if there was cover art posted on their site for Bewitching. There isn’t. So I went to Alex Flinn’s lj, and about an hour ago, she posted that the cover art for her book is to be changed! http://alixwrites(dot)livejournal(dot)com/
    [replace (dot) with period]

    That being said, I’m happy for you and Nathalia, but I still hope you both get that apology from Harper Collins

  116. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Yes, theanagrace, there is a resolution. I’ve blogged about it in the next post .

  117. Don says:

    Does anyone have eyes here. I am an experienced cover designer and it is OBVIOUS this was not a rip off, it is just a chance similar cover. The model used for hte photo Manip is not the same, the bird is not the same, and the backgrounds, clothing etc are not the same. This happens in cover design…

  118. Anne Victory says:

    Don, I’d agree with you if the chain of events wasn’t what it was. Considering that they first wanted to buy the art and were refused – they recreated it. Plain and simple. That’s not a coincidence.

  119. It’s really crazy how the author is defending the company.

    “It would be so easy for a big corporation like Harper Collins to figure an unknown like me and a foreign artist like Nathalia Suellen can be ignored and just go on with the beautiful cover.” – her friend says

    easy to piss me off. why not?
    just because I’m a foreign, doesn’t mean I’m an idiot.

    The author says that the book cover is in process and you know? it doensn’t explain nothing. the company wasted their precious time to copy an artwork that they are not going to use? who are trying to convince?

    My artwork was used to promote their book. I didn’t had any profit with it, not even a credit. Easy for a big company piss me off. – wow.

    and now they remove like if anything had happened.
    it’s not the end. not yet.

  120. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    Nathalia – that was my comment. I gave the author the benefit of the doubt.

    But there is NO DOUBT that Harper Collins copied your art when you refused to let them buy it. I agree that you were the most damaged in this – this is your design. They had no right to do what they did.

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  123. Garapan says:

    You and Nathalia need to burn these thieves to the ground and sue them for millions each.

  124. Maryann says:

    I should add to my story about the designer who “copied” the photo…she also used the same Photoshop treatment and colors, and cropped it at the same angle. I don’t think something as simple as posing with a pen could be copyrighted, but the problem was that the composition, colors and graphic treatment were also the same.

  125. LK Rigel LK Rigel says:

    What I find shocking is that people and corporations who depend on the protections of copyright law to make their livings and their profits should be so blithe about respecting copyright law.

    Alex Flinn is innocent in this; I believe that.

    But it seems to me that at the very least that the art director working for Harper Collins blatantly disrespected Nathalia’s copyright. They owe her something , not the least of which is an apology.

  126. bonzi says:

    I prefer your chick to her chick :o)

    Seriously, I am glad this has been (almost) resolved.

  127. bonzi says:

    ^ Wrong emoticon up there ;-)

  128. Yes, you should be upset. This is clearly a “copy” and anyone with any legal experience I am sure would say you have grounds for compensation.

    It’s a great pity they did this, because both covers are beautiful, but your’s is “owned” already by you.

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  130. “Should I Be Upset? | LK Rigel” actually causes me imagine a small amount further.
    I actually treasured every particular component of it.

    Many thanks ,Mai

  131. Carolyn says:

    Really? I would sue, but that’s because I’m going to be a lawyer, and you probably have a case, I mean they even have the freaking bird flying next to the girl.

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