How to copyright a photo: Know how to protect photos you post online

A copyright label is used to protect the images, photos, and creative work that you upload over the internet. The Berne Convention states that you own your photographs and you can claim the copyrights for them if someone steals them. The situation gets worse when anyone tries to duplicate your work or pictures and you have to show proof that you own these images.

But how can you show that proof? How to copyright a photo? And how to navigate through property lawsuits regarding copyright issues? Find out the answers in the next part of the article.

Registering a copyright

Register photographs with the US copyright office

A photograph that is taken from your device or the work technically belongs to you for the next 25 years. In cases you are afraid that your images or your creative work will be stolen, then you should register all of your digital work to claim a lawsuit of infringement under the US copyright claims act.

Copyright registration will provide proof of legal ownership, which will help you in fighting against the infringement lawsuit if necessary. Registration can be done through mail and online.

On registering your copyright with the constitutional limits, you would be able to collect $150,000 as of the statutory damages for every intentional infringement.

Avoid any non-governmental copyright service. Chances are that they will provide the documented proof on the date the images or the work had been produced other than the securely stamped copy. You won’t be able to sue anyone if you cannot show proof that your work is copyright protected or registered with the US copyright office.

As long as the owner is alive one can claim copyright infringement and after the owner’s death, US copyright remains in the name of the owner for the next 70 years.

If possible, file online

It is rather easy, quicker, and cheaper at the US Copyright Office to apply for your photographs registration through email instead of sending them through the mail. Visit the US Copyright Office official website to know the process through the user-friendly interface which is quite easy to navigate.

You can easily register one photograph or even the whole package of published work with no difficulty, but the registration charges may vary when choosing one or the whole pack of work.

On registering a single work online, you have to pay $35 and $50 through the mail. The cost of registration may differ depending on the quantity of the work you are registering.

The duration of the registration process for online filing of the work can take up to 8 months. The period for paper filing can take up to 13 months. To register your work through mail, you have to copy your images and work on a disc for submission.

Save your copyright proof

Once the registration process of your photographs is completed, you will get a formal copyright certificate email from the US Copyright Office. Keep this proof somewhere securely so that you can use it whenever necessary.

Practically, this certificate is the proof that shows that you can claim to be the owner of the work when needed. The US Copyright Office has no way of knowing who’s the owner of the particular work. They only depend on the certificate they send and rely on the fact that filing fake documents is referred to as forgery and can be executed as a federal felony.

When you own a copyright on your work this does not prove that the work you are filing is originally yours. It could also be an updated version of someone else’s work. You then have the burden of proof to prove the seniority of the work i.e. authored or registered ownership seniority. If anyone fails to provide the seniority, then other convincing and clear evidence has to show in the infringement courts to prove the ownership.

When you register your work online to own copyright against it, you also can file a letter for the sub-ownership to make sure that after you, the person will have the ownership. documents that prove that you and the selected person will have ownership of the work. These documents, which are of mutual ownership are searchable online as well.

Uploading photographs with watermarks and copyrights

Posting the file on the internet grant access to everyone

While you upload your content either photographs or your creative work, especially on the public site, you should be aware of the fact that anyone on the internet no matter from which part of the world gets access to view and download the file for their personal use. Let’s not get into what comes under the ‘personal use’ phrase. However,

Your images will contain the copyright tag and will have the rights enclosed to duplicate and share the derivatives on other public sites by you or distributing and publishing copies like other things.

If you encounter unauthorized copies on other sites and servers, then you can threaten the site with ‘take down’ notice, but you need to find them before going into intellectual property infringement lawsuits.

Posting copyright notice with the photographs

While posting online, post a copyright notice with your images. First, write the copyright symbols – c circumscribed – include the year in which the image or work had been first published. Mention your name at the end. For example © 02020 Joseph Bustamante.

Consider posting your images with the copyright marks and the statements like ‘I have the copyrights of this file, and I feel no fear in claiming copyright claims via lawsuit’. It probably deters people from stealing your work and discourages using it falsely.

Once you have uploaded the work and someone edited your copyright information from the work and have it for personal use, then it also falls into the infringement clause.

Adding watermark

Use paint, Photoshop, or any software to put a watermark on your samples or photos when you decide to upload them on the internet. The watermark can be simply added by writing your or your brand’s name, or any logo that you may use for your company. This is also a market technique to display the samples that your company produces over the internet.

Use free online tools if you are not accustomed to using paint or Photoshop for the purpose. Online tools like Watermark-images and PicMarkr are some of the easiest online free tools that can be used without any difficulty.

For advertising purposes, many companies put the watermarks at the center of the images to secure them from stealing and that’s a good tactic because it gets difficult to use photographs for customized purposes.

How to copyright a photo? We think you now have complete knowledge of how you can add copyright ownership to your creative work and photographs. Be mindful when uploading your pictures on public sites where everyone has the access to use your photos. Try mentioning copyright claims to shun the chances of duplication and putting yourself in an infringement lawsuit.

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