Monday, January 28, 2013


You hear it often. Copyright your photographs. However, it often ends there, with just the suggestion. So I decided I would record a tutorial on the process I go through to copyright images, in this case photographs from my recent trip to Arizona.

When discussing copyright and all the issues surrounding it, I think it is important to mention that I'm not a copyright lawyer or expert and only know what I've read or heard from those that are. I also see many message boards and comment sections that discuss copyright, however, I would avoid putting too much stock in those and instead just visit a site such as by Edward Greenberg and Jack Reznicki to get the facts.

This tutorial is in two parts. First, I go through my work flow of preparing the photos for upload and in the second part, I take you through the process of actually uploading the photographs to the U.S. Copyright Office.

Some things to keep in mind:

As the photographer you automatically own the copyright to the photograph unless you sign it away in writing. The one exception is if you are a full-time employee, then the employer owns the copyright as a "work made for hire."

Registration is required if you intend to file a lawsuit. If you registered you work before the infringement, or within three months of publication, then you can sue for statutory damages plus attorney fees.

Using © is no longer required, however you may still use it to clearly identify yourself as the copyright holder. How do I make that fancy © symbol? Option G on a Mac, Alt + 0169 on Windows and © in HTML.

While I don't copyright every photograph I take, I do when I intend to make the photographs commercially available or if I believe others may do the same without my permission.

Most of my photographs, even ones that I have previously copyrighted, are available through a creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerives license. This allows others to download my photos and share them as long I'm given credit, but cannot alter them or use them commercially.

Additional resources:
Editorial Photographers web site.
Visit for a step-by-step tutorial

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