View Full Version : Copywrite?

Barry Pressman
01-02-2008, 12:26 PM
I just registered and would ask what could happen if one were to upload an image that has not been protected?
And..any suggestions for an amateur, please.

Barry Pressman

George DeCamp
01-02-2008, 12:32 PM
I just registered and would ask what could happen if one were to upload an image that has not been protected?
And..any suggestions for an amateur, please.

Barry Pressman

Hey Barry!

Once you post an image it is considered published and hence is protected by copywrite laws. Now it may not be so easy to collect damages if not registered but that is another topic.

David Kennedy
01-02-2008, 02:00 PM
It's copyright :)
George is basically right, except that an image does not even need to be published to be copyrighted. If you made it, it's intellectual property, and therefore copyrighted. But, to claim that you should be compensated for the infringement of your copyright, it must have been registered. You can still file suit without a registration, but you will not receive financial compensation. Does that matter? Only you can decide.

For what it's worth, I have only registered images of endangered species that I thought were more susceptible to use without permission (theft). Also, registration for a copyright is a PITA. You can register related images that can all be given the same basic title on U.S. Copyright Office form VA. For instance, "My photo safari to Africa." However, you cannot register images that are not all related, such as "Everything I've ever photographed in my lifetime." If only!!! And keep in mind that each registration is $45 ($35 if done online through the beta program). That adds up quickly.

More information from the library of congress here: http://www.copyright.gov

Barry Pressman
01-03-2008, 12:53 PM
Thanks George

01-07-2008, 05:36 AM
David, I need to correct a slight error in your statement. I have routinely been registering my images - for 15 iterations now - in blocks of time - usually over a 6 to 9 month period. And, the ONLY common relationship in the images is that block of time. I have copyright numbers for each of those batches so the Copyright Office must have been "OK" with the approach.

So if you want to copyright your images as say My images from July 1 2007 through December 31 2007 (obviously using your real name instead of 'my images') then have at it -- just be aware that if this is a group registration none of these images should have been published.

Mike Early

Fabs Forns
01-07-2008, 10:21 AM
I have registered unrelated images as Works of Fabiola del Alcazar in 2006 or whatever the year would be.

As a matter of fact, I included some digitally manipulated works, the they called me and asked if I would like them to be registered as art as well.
That was very nice of them!

Chris Starbuck
01-08-2008, 05:13 PM
One of the local photography clubs I belong to recently had a program by an attorney who specializes in copyright law. He mentioned something that may impact those of you who have been registering groups of photos. When you register a group of photos (for one fee), it's the collection that's registered, not the individual photos. Which leaves you unable to collect monetary damages if someone misappropriates one image from the group.

Just passing along someone else's expert opinion...

Michael Pancier
01-10-2008, 10:01 AM
Your stuff is copywritten the minute you create it. Registration provides you additional legal remedies including attorneys fees should you have to sue someone for infringement. Having a registered image stands as prima facie proof of ownership and puts the burden on them to prove otherwise in a court of law. Without registration, you have to first prove that you created and owned the image and then that they infringed.

As Fabs said, you can put a gazillion images on DVD and send it to the ROC and you're all set.

James Shadle
01-10-2008, 10:54 AM
Wow Michael,
You seem to know a little about "law";)


David Kennedy
01-10-2008, 12:49 PM
That's interesting that others have had no problems registering giant groups of images. Whenever I read form VA from the Library of Congress Copyright Office, it always makes me think that the images must be more closely related--like from a specific shoot. I've also read a lot of books and articles, most recently John Harrington's book on business practices for photographers, and he implied the same. However, if other people are having no issues with this, then there's clearly a lot of misinformation about the subject.

Fabs, do you include a printed contact sheet as well as the disc of JPEGs? I recently sent in a registration where I did those two things for some images of endangered Whooping Cranes and Trumpeter Swans, but I wasn't certain if that was overkill. Also, there is no clear guideline for what size/dimensions JPEGs should be. Gotta love it!

Mike: I find it difficult to believe that an entire group must be infringed in order for a copyright to be broken. What I would like to point out is that thousands of people go to law school every year, but they don't all know what they're talking about when they get out. I'm sure Mr. Sharwell would agree, as would anyone else with a J.D. (Does that include Mr. Pancier, above?) What's the old joke about the doctor who graduates at the bottom of his class?

Fabs Forns
01-10-2008, 01:44 PM
David, just the DVD and a web posting size is all I've used :)

Ed Okie
01-12-2008, 01:31 PM
An ugly reality not addressed: "the copyright notice" in today's digital era, and that of the public's perception of right-from-wrong... walks a journey on very thin ice. Lawyers can tout and posture all they want (and take your money), but what are you really going to do about it on a daily basis? Complete disregard often is the reality - customers, friends or whomever. Especially any computer image, if it's in their hands they're pretty much going to do whatever they want with the image. Superb copy machines at all local stores also make it easy (with very good results).
Witness what has happened to the once lucrative field of Stock Photography. It peaked in about 1995 and has gone downhill thereafter. In the past year Getty Images put the nail in the coffin by selling $49 images from their huge database.
And did you know it's perfectly legal to clip parts of different previously-copyrighted images, say, a tree here, a bird there, the sky from another, etc, and then composite those portions into an all new image with full and exclusive copyright ownership of that new image?
The digital age has evolved as a two-edged sword. Unintended collateral damage is another descriptive.