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I have a question regarding if someone were to put together a zine of just front covers of other zines to showcase the many different styles of cover art/design.  Obviously you'd want to contact the author/creator of the zine and make sure they were ok with it.  But what if you have no way to contact a zinester/emails and letters get returned.  

Would it be considered fair use if you printed in anyway without permission if there was no specific "don't reprint this ever" message in the zine?  Would it be okay just to start the zine with "everything is copywritten to the original authors/artists.  Permission to reprint was given by the original creator when possible.  If you did not give permission and would like your work removed from future printings, please contact me at....." ?

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That probably wouldn't be fair use.

If you were writing a zine discussing zine covers, and you were reproducing low-quality images of those zines simply in order to clearly discuss them, that should fall under fair use.

But the zine you're proposing seems to more directly use the material of the other zines as the material of your zine.
Wouldn't bother me, so long as they really did try first, and gave credit where possible. :)
Owen Thomas, in his Ten Page News, used to regularly shrink the cover of every zine he did and put it next to his review of that zine. Syndicated Zine Reviews does the same thing, as a matter of practice, on-line. It's something that's been done for years. I don't see how it'd be that much different from what you're proposing, unless you wanted to burden the zine culture with all sorts of legalistic hairsplitting.

The zine culture, especially as distinct from the more "conservative" amateur publishing culture, has always been very free wheeling and flexible. Ever read about "detournment"? I think in the present zine culture, with it's long history of creative freedom, it's incumbent on the legalists to clearly put copyright notices in their zines, and preferably to make clear that includes all images, on pages and covers.

But maybe my sensibilities about what goes and what doesn't in the "zine community" is passe and irrelevant. It sure seems that way since I joined this forum
If you're writing about each cover or writing about types of design and printing the covers as examples, you shouldn't need to ask for permission, it would be considered a critique or review and be quite obvious that you aren't claiming the cover art as your own. I used to reprint zine covers all the time in my zine and magazine when I'd review zines, everyone does this.
I've got a zine of exactly that- it's called Hoarder, and each issue the guy goes through his boxes of junk and photographs/scans things on a certain theme. One of the issues is UK zines of the 1980s that he got as a teenager, it's got pictures of the cover and one page, each about 2" tall, with a little description. It's pretty interesting.

Here's the guy's website, maybe you can contact him with qs about how he went about it
http://superflakecustomgraphics.com/
Hoarder sounds amazing, I love stuff like that. Must go find now.

Emma Jane Falconer said:
I've got a zine of exactly that- it's called Hoarder, and each issue the guy goes through his boxes of junk and photographs/scans things on a certain theme. One of the issues is UK zines of the 1980s that he got as a teenager, it's got pictures of the cover and one page, each about 2" tall, with a little description. It's pretty interesting.

Here's the guy's website, maybe you can contact him with qs about how he went about it
http://superflakecustomgraphics.com/
i think is a very good idea but i think is fair to ask first and if you cant contact the editors well put on the editorial part of the zine who you wanted contact but you couldnt

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