BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
James W. 

Copyrighting Your Photographs

How do I copyright my photos?

To love this question, log in above
1/14/2007 2:09:34 PM

W.    You don't have to 'copyright' your photos. You don't have to 'do' anything to claim that right. It IS yours. You automatically own the copyright to any photo you make.
However, when push comes to shove, to PROVE so in a court of law that you DID make a particular photo is not easy. You can add a copyright notice in the EXIF tag, in the IPTC tag, work it visibly into the image, work it INvisibly into the image file (watermarking, etc.), and so on, so forth. It's a lot of work and definitely not foolproof protection.
There's a choice there: do you rather spend your time photographing or in court ... ?

To love this comment, log in above
1/14/2007 2:22:12 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Actually James, the U.S. registration process is completed by sending copies of your work to the copyright office in Washington, D.C. You can download the form for that at under form FA (fine arts). Work can be ganged together so you don't need to register one photo at a time. It's relatively inexpensive and gets you a really swell registration certificate by return mail.
No, nothing is foolproof, however actually registering the work gets you actual protection whereas just sitting on the photo after you created it, without registration, is only partial protection. The reason for the time period is to allow photographers or artists to "gang register" their work and save money on registration fees and processing time.
Go to the copyright site, download the form and the materials for registering photos. It's all an easy, straightforward process that you might well benefit from, substantially, later on. The whole process, by the way, is intended to keep you OUT of court rather than in. Get the picture? ;>)
Take it light.

To love this comment, log in above
1/14/2007 4:30:57 PM

W.    How about embedding your copyright notice IN your image. With invisible ink! Well, digital invisible ink, that is.
If you don't know it's there, you can't remove it, can you?

This steganography shareware claims to do the trick (on Wintel boxes):

To love this comment, log in above
1/18/2007 4:49:39 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.