Copyright.gov Page

Podcast 294 : Registering Copyright of your Photographs

It's pretty much common knowledge that the copyright of a photograph comes into being the moment you release the shutter and the image is saved to your memory card. It's fine to put a copyright notice on your images when you post them to the Web, and you have the right to try to litigate against anyone that uses your images without licensing the image or receiving permission from you. You've probably also heard through various Podcasts though, that although you have the right to try to get some sort of retribution for unlawful use of your images, without registering...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
9 Comments
  • Katarina Fagerstrom Levring
    Posted at 03:39h, 19 August

    Hi Martin!
    Thanks so much for this valuable podcast about how to copyright your creative work. I`ve been thinking of how to do this for a time now but as you yourself said, it has seemed to be a to daunting task… but not anymore after listening to your podcast.
    Thanks again for giving us this valuable resource, much appreciated;) Katarina

  • C. Daniel Chase
    Posted at 04:10h, 21 August

    Martin-

    I enjoyed your description of the Copyright registration process. I had always wondered what it would take and the benefit of it when technically we automatically hod the copyright, wether registered or not.

    I wanted to point out a resource in case you were not aware of it, in the Photo Attorney blog by Carolyn E. Wright. She has a great collection of posts on copyright and other photographic issues.

    -Dan

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 09:46h, 21 August

    Hi Katarina,

    You’re very welcome. Things like this always seem a little scary, but I figured it shouldn’t be. Once I knew how easy it was I thought I’d share this while it was still fresh in my mind.

    Hi Dan,

    Thanks for visiting. I’m pleased this was useful.

    I’ve heard of Carolyn E. Wright, but never remembered long enough to check out her site. Thanks for the link!

    Martin.

  • Byron D
    Posted at 10:08h, 08 August

    I remembered listening to this when you first released it, but just got around to completing the process tonight. The government website is not user-friendly, so your tutorial truly helped me feel confident about completing the process! Frankly, I just put all the images from my website/blog into one zip file and called it 2012. There are maybe a dozen shots from 2010, maybe 25 from 2011, and let’s say 250 from 2012. Will this come back to haunt me later if someone actually uses one of my images without permission? The way I understand it, I’m protected from this day forward, but not if someone illegally used one of my images prior to today, is that correct?

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 22:35h, 10 August

      I’m pleased this helped Byron.

      I’d say it is better than not having them copyrighted at all, but I don’t know the laws around older images. I would imagine you have every right to fight against copyright infringements even if they happened before you registered the images, and you would certainly have a better chance of winning if they are registered, but here too, I don’t know the full legal aspects.

      Cheers,
      Martin.