ISFDB:Image linking permissions

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The ISFDB displays images of cover art for publications, and images of authors. In both cases, the ISFDB stores a URL of an image hosted on another site, and displays that image (hot-linking) during page generation.

Local hosting

As of 15 May 2008, uploading of images via the ISFDB-wiki's upload file facility was enabled, and a number of cover and other images have been uploaded since that date.

The policy on how and when to store images on the ISFDB is still being debated. See Help:How to upload images to the ISFDB wiki for one guide. The tagging described in that page does not have full consensus support among ISFDB editors. The URLs of images hosted on the iSFDB wiki can be used in publication records just as any other image URLs.

The remainder of this page applies to images hosted elsewhere than on the ISFDB site.

The need for permission

The ISFDB links to cover images only on sites that have given the ISFDB explicit permission to do so, or sites whose own stated policies or terms of use grant such permission.

Since such images are hosted by another site, that site will get a hit, and a request to serve the entire image each time that an ISFDB user views a page with an image URL being displayed. If the ISFDB uses many images from a given site, and those images are on relatively popular ISFDB pages, this might result in a significant amount of bandwidth for the host site. Since the images are displayed as part of an ISFDB page, no other content from the host site, and no advertisements it may include, are displayed. Some host sites are unwilling to permit this. In particular, Wikipedia, and other sites run by Wikipedia's parent, the WikiMedia Foundation, have a strong policy against such use of images hosted on their sites. They consider it "bandwidth theft" and will block all links from sites detected in such linking, according to their announced policies.

List of sites granting permission

  • The following sites have granted permission (explicitly, or implicitly by virtue of their own terms of use) to the ISFDB to link to images that they host.
    • and and and Permission to link to any of these 1632, Inc. domains granted by "Head Geek" Rick Boatright via email to moderators on 2011-06-18.
    • Ace image library "I give you permission to use whatever images that you need from the ACE IMAGE LIBRARY for the ISFDB and appreciate the credit notation for this usage. I should note that a couple of the AIL images (primarily for original cover art or prelliminary drawings as well as a couple of the inserts or daybills for the Man From U.N.C.L.E movies) have been permitted to the AIL from other sources. These are noted on the appropriate AIL page and if you use these you may wish to credit them as "Original art / movie art for ........ . Permission for use given to AIL."
    • Amazon - As an Amazon associate, ISFDB has implicit permission to use Amazon's images. Things to keep in mind when linking to an Amazon-hosted image:
      • Check that the image is actually the correct one for your edition.
      • Keep in mind that if a publication is still in print, Amazon may replace its image with an updated one without warning.
      • A good-quality medium-sized image is usually available by clicking on the "See This Image" link under the smaller cover image. Some Amazon pages do not have this link, but the larger version can be obtained by right-clicking on the image and copying its URL. This works even for those books that generally only display a thumbnail marred by the "Look Inside" banner.
      • Many images displayed by Amazon contain additional formatting such as borders, shades, framing, shrinking and so on. The formatting is embedded in Amazon URLs by adding an underscore and a special code. For example, "AA" adds white borders, "SS" changes the size of the image, "SL" creates a small thumb, and "CR" adds cropping. Except for "CR" (see below), these formatting codes are not supported by the ISFDB software. Remove them from the URL before entering it into the database. This is accomplished by removing everything starting with the penultimate period up to the final period.
      • If an Amazon image contains unwanted elements, e.g. a large background or other books, you can add cropping before the final period in the URL. The format is "._CR102,6,148,257", where "._CR" tells Amazon to crop the images, "102" is the left border, "6" is the top border, "148" is the width and "257" is the height. Follow this link to,6,148,257.jpg to see the result.
    • Armchair Fiction. Permission has been granted by the owner, Gregory Luce, via an Armchair Fiction employee, Susan Greer: "I have consulted the owner of Armchair Fiction, Gregory Luce, and he has authorized me to give permission to link to images on our website. Thanks, Susan Greer".
    • Black Bed Sheet Books / Permission has been granted by the owner, Nicholas Grabowsky (Downwarden) to link to images on this website: I'm the publisher/owner of Black Bed Sheet Books and give permission for ISFDB to use images from
    • Bookscans ("Graphically illustrating the evolution of vintage American paperbacks - 1939 through 1979") "The ISFDB hereby has permission to link to any page or picture on the BookScans web site."
    • Collectors Showcase This is a great source for images of pulps, digests and early hardcover editions, and not just French publications.
    • Dagan Books Permission to link images use other public information given by Carrie Cuinn, the site owner, on 2010-12-15.
    • De Boekenplank is a website devoted to Dutch-language SF. Permission to link images granted by the site owner, Kees Buis, via e-mail to the ISFDB moderators on 2011-04-27.
    • Diamond Bay Research and Yunchtime. Permission granted by Lex Berman, the sites' owner, via e-mail.
    • Permission granted by the owner, Steve Pendergrast aka Peter S. Drang, via e-mail on 2023-06-08.
    • - ISFDB has explicit permission to use images hosted by To find the URL of a publication, select 'titolo' (title) in the search box on the home page and type the title (in Italian or English), then follow the links. The format is:, where "DD" are the first two characters of the five characters code DDddd in square bracket.
    • Fantastic Fiction - ISFDB has explicit permission to use Fantastic Fiction's images, but please first check to see if the image is available on Amazon and use that one. Fantastic Fiction's bandwidth is limited and displaying the image in the ISFDB record may take time. Also, the quality of their images vary greatly so they should only be a source for otherwise unavailable images.
    • Permission to link images granted by the site owner, Alexey Lvov, via e-mail from one of the moderators, User:Papyrus, in January 2011.
    • Phil Stephensen-Payne's "Galactic Central" - ISFDB has explicit permission to use images hosted by "Galactic Central".
    • Howard Works Permission to link images granted by the site administrator, Bill Thom, via e-mail on 2017-11-29.
    • icshi We are now permitted to link directly to the covers: if you do so, please at least credit 'Icshi" in the notes, and an occasional hyperlink or two back to the site would be appreciated.
    • Permission to link images given by the site owner on 2020-08-29.
    • The Luminist League Permission to link images given by the site owner on 2010-12-16.
    • Magnus' van Vogt site Icelandic site with good selection of covers Magnus is very generous too: "Hi. Feel free to link however you want, I have free bandwidth where I'm hosting the images."
    • Mondourania Italian language site. Has images of covers from many Italian SF publications. Automatically credited based on ImageURL domain.
    • Nathan M Hurst. Permission has been granted by the owner, Nathanmhurst, to link to images on this website.
    • Nitchevo Factory -- see
    • Ofearna. Permission has been granted by the owner, Ofearna, to link to images on this website.
    • Open Library is an open source project sponsored by the Internet Archive. All their content is available for reuse under a free license. They grant permission for the sort of hotlinking we do at, and we now automatically include a backlink based on their domain, as we do for most whitelisted sites.
    • Jennifer R. Povey's site. Permission granted by the owner on 2020-03-07.
    • Permission granted on this Talk page in 2013.
    • Permission granted on the "About" Web page under "Policies and Legal Stuff" on 2023-06-23.
    • SFE - The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd edition. Permission granted by Dave Langford via e-mail after consulting other SFE3 editors. Note that we are only allowed to link to SFE3-hosted images that reside in the following sub-directories: /clute/, /langford/ and /robinson/. Images residing in other sub-directories were provided to SFE3 by third parties and SFE3 can't give us permission to link to them. In addition, all SFE3-hosted images must have a link to the associated "Gallery" page added after a "pipe" ("|") character. For example, the value of the "Image URL" field of the Blow, Blow Your Trumpets publication record is "|", where the first URL is that of the image itself and the second URL (after the "|") is that of the "Gallery" page which provides additional information about the image.
    • Smashwords. Permission granted by Mark Coker, the site's owner, via e-mail on 2017-07-07. Images should include a link to the Web page hosting the image. For example, the value of the "Image URL" field of The Book of Deacon publication record is "|", where the first URL is that of the image itself and the second URL (after the "|") is that of the Smashwords Web page for the publication.
    • SF-Leihbuch German SF. Images should include a permanlink to the Web page hosting the image after a "|". The permalink URL is displayed at the bottom of all SF-Leihbuch Web pages. Permission granted by the site administrator in May 2019.
    • Starship Sloane Publishing "a small, independent, traditional publishing company establishing itself in the literary marketplace." Permission granted by the owner via email on 2023-12-06.
    • The Trash Collector Small images, but wide variety. Scott Stine, owner, says "Feel free to link to the pictures on my website. [...] Thanks for writing and asking permission, and good luck on your worthy endeavor."
    • Urania Mania. Mostly Italian covers, permission granted in 2012-04.
    • vanvogt Japanese site, but English text with lots of pretty covers and artist info. Yutaka, the sitemaster says "You may link my pictures to anywhere you like, but I'll be glad if you would let me know where you use them" - so drop him an email if you need to use one of them on the ISFDB.
    • and, owned by Vonnie Winslow Crist. Permission received in 2017-03 -- see FR 1009.
    • Robert G. Williscroft's Web sites:,,,,,, Permission received via e-mail on 2017-10-10.
    •, used by Nitchevo Factory.

Wikimedia Sites

While Wikimedia (Wikipedia, Commons, etc.) allows 'hotlinking' (the kind of image linking ISFDB uses), they recommend against it (Wikimedia Hotlinking Policy). Wikimedia points out that their images are subject to change, renaming, deletion, vandalism, etc. which would impact sites using the image. In addition, Wikimedia images typically have licensing conditions that require proper attribution to be displayed. ISFDB is not set up to meet this requirement.

Wikimedia images can be re-used, with the proper licensing, by downloading the Wikimedia image and uploading it to ISFDB. The uploaded image should provide attribution as specified by the original content creator to avoid copyright infringement. For example, a Creative Commons licensed image should be uploaded to ISFDB using the same Creative Commons license template (see Category:Image License Tags) where the attribution field is set to match the Wikimedia image's template.

Sample request for permission

This is designed to be sent by email or as a physical letter. It is merely a suggested letter, volunteers are free to modify it in particular cases, or to use a completely different letter. But any communication requesting this permission ought to be careful to explain clearly just what permission we are asking for.

Subject: Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB) Image Linking Permission Request - <name of site>
Hi -
My name is <name of requester> and I am a volunteer with the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base (ISFDB) which is located at The ISFDB is a bibliographic database of works of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and related works of speculative fiction -- that is, it displays information about the titles, authors, and publications of such works. When we display information about a particular publication (an edition or printing of a particular work) we prefer to display an image of the cover of the work, so that the public can see exactly which edition is being described. We do this by including a URL of a publicly posted image in the database. When the publication page is displayed, the page logic uses the image found at that URL as an image source for the page display, which results in a call to the host server (this is sometimes called hot-linking). Also, the displayed image can be clicked to access the image on the original site directly. One good example of this in action is for an edition of The Lord of the Rings, where the image is hosted by Amazon. We also link to images of authors in the same way. However, we only use URLs from sites that have agreed to permit us to do so.
Your site <name of site>, located at <base URL>, has images that would enhance the ISFDB, and there have been requests to use your images. We would greatly appreciate it if you would permit us to link to those images. The ISFDB is a completely non-profit, volunteer-run organization. We think that it provides a valuable public service, and helps promote speculative fiction in general. Please let us know if we may display images (hot-link) from your site on our pages by linking to your site. We will also happily provide a credit link back to your site whenever we display your cover art images. Please copy your response to so that the ISFDB as an organization can preserve a record of it.
Thank you
<signature of volunteer>

Sample request for permission - French

This is roughly the same letter as above but translated to French. Most of the work was via Bablefish and the result was tuned up to fix issues such as that "site" was 'fished into "place" rather than "site" as in web site.

If the person you are requesting permission from does not seem to be a computer techie you can remove the latter half of the first paragraph starting with "Nous faisons ceci en incluant..."

Subject: Demande de lien de <name of site> vers l'ISFDB (Internet Speculative Fiction Database)
Bonjour Madame/Monsieur,
Je m’appelle <name of requester> et je suis un contributeur bénévole de la base de données spéculative de fiction d'Internet (ISFDB) dont voici l'adresse : L'ISFDB est une base de données bibliographique qui couvre l'ensemble des oeuvres de l'imaginaire (science-fiction, fantasy, horreur, fiction spéculative). Cette base de donnée rassemble des informations sur les titres, les auteurs, et les diverses éditions de telles oeuvres. Quand nous montrons des informations sur une publication (c'est à dire une édition ou une impression particulière d'une oeuvre) nous préférons montrer une image de la couverture de l'oeuvre, de sorte que le public puisse voir exactement quelle est l'édition décrite. Nous faisons ceci en incluant une URL de l'image dans la base de données. Quand la page de publication est affichée, les scripts employés utilisent cette URL comme source d'image pour l'affichage de page, ce qui a comme conséquence un appel au serveur principal (hot-linking). En outre, l'image montrée peut être cliquée sur pour accéder à l'image sur le site original directement. Un bon exemple de ceci est pour une édition du Seigneur des anneaux, où l'image est hébergée par Amazon. Nous lions également les portraits des auteurs de la même manière. Cependant, nous employons seulement des URL des sites qui acceptent de nous permettre de procéder ainsi.
Votre site de <name of site>, situé à <base URL>, possède des images qui enrichiraient l'ISFDB et il y a eu des demandes de la part de nos bénévoles pour les utiliser. Nous apprécierions fortement si vous nous permettiez d'inclure des liens vers ces images. L'ISFDB est une organisation sans but lucratif et constituée de bénévoles. Nous pensons qu'elle fournit un service public valable et promeut les littératures de l'imaginaire en général. Merci de nous indiquer si nous pouvons utiliser les images de votre site. Nous fournirons également volontiers un lien créditant votre site toutes les fois que nous afficherons vos images. Merci de bien vouloir envoyer votre réponse à de sorte que l'ISFDB puisse préserver une copie de votre accord.
<signature of requester>