|New Registration Fees are in Effect
As an offshoot to my article “Flickr + _Rebekka + Availability of High Resolution Images = Nightmare” I thought it might be beneficial to go into greater detail about what I do to protect my work using copyrights and why.
First I will say that I am no lawyer and if you have questions about copyright infringement reference the Copyright section of the Library of Congress web site and consult with a legal expert in this area.
Secondly I will say that of all the information I’ve shared to date and likely will share on my blog, I think this is the most important for photographers to familiarize themselves with and add to their work flow.
As you’ll see below the steps I take are quite simple, but to understand why I take these extra steps you MUST read everything in this blog entry.
With in 90 days of a photo shoot I will…
1. Batch process an entire photo shoot, downsizing my RAW files to low resolution JPEG files (usually with a maximum height or width of 1024 pixels)
2. Sort and organize the low resolution JPEG files in well labeled folders
Note: Currently there is no limit to the number of images submitted per collection.
3. Burn the labeled folders containing the low resolution JPEG files plus a “read me” text file with my contact information to a CD or DVD
4. Label the burned CD/DVD with the name of the collection(s) I will be copyrighting along with my name, phone number and email address.
5. Download a copy of the Form VA (PDF) from the Library of Congress web site
6. Print and fill out the Form VA being careful to use the same collection name(s) I’ve labeled my CD/DVD with.
7. Write a check for $45 $65 to the “Register of Copyrights.” See the top of this page for pricing updates.
8. Make a copy of the filled out copyright form and check for my records
9. Package and send my CD/DVD(s), filled out Form VA(s) and check to the Library of Congress.
Why go through all of this?
Plain and simple to maximize my legal protection afforded by the law against those that attempt to use my work with out permission.
The Biggest Misconception
“Adding a copyright statement on my image will maximize my protection against infringement” – WRONG
Perfecting your copyright” (filing with the Library of Congress) will enable you to seek up to $150,000 per infringement, if proven it was committed willfully.
Â§ 504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits” – Library of Congress web site.
Only with this level of protection will a photographer have a meaningful chance of stopping someone infringing their copyrighted work. The hard fact of life is that lawyers will be much more eager to take a case with the prospect of winning these types of damages. Without perfecting your copyright it becomes a much more challenging proposition to get someone to stop infringing your work and to recruit a lawyer to take your case.
Important Copyright Facts
#1 At the moment you snap the shutter of your camera you have become the copyright holder of that image.
Note: Exceptions may exist if you’re in a “work for hire” agreement
#2 It is best practice to identify yourself as the copyright holder of an image either through image watermark or text adjacent to your image (the former being best). “© *your name* , All Rights Reserved”.
Learning from the outcome of previous copyright infringement cases, clearly disclosing that an image is copyrighted will refute the “I didn’t know it was copyrighted” or “the identity of the artist was not clearly defined” defense.
#3 File your copyright with in 90 days of the capture of our photograph(s).
“Unless a work is registered before a copyright infringement takes place OR within ninety (90) days of first publication, damage awards may be limited to actual damages. This is often the fee a creator would have been paid for the work had it been licensed properly.” – Copyright Registration Made Easy
#4 Creative Commons is based upon Copyright law and is NOT a replacement for it. “Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights”
“In most jurisdictions, registration is not required. However, for creators in the United States registration can be obtained and is advisable so that you can enforce your copyright in court. For US-based creators, you should check out the U.S. Copyright Office Copyright Basics page, which explains more about copyright registration.” – Creative Commons FAQ
Recommended Copyright Resources
Copyright Office Basics – Library of Congress
Editorial Photographers Copyright Resource page – Editorial Photographers (editorialphoto.com)
[tags]copyright, how to, creative commons, law, protection, visual arts, photograph, photography, photographer, Form VA[/tags]