Copyrights...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Peacemaker636, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. Peacemaker636

    Peacemaker636 TPF Noob!

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    I'm wondering about copyrighting my photographs.

    I live in the US, and it's my understanding that once I've taken a photograph, I have the right to enforce the copyright. Am I right?

    Also, how should I go about making sure people know my work is copyrighted? Should I put it in the EXIF data? Do I just have to put the Copyright symbol and then my name?

    Thanks,
    Peacemaker
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i'd put it visibly in the image... since once the image is printed, EXIF is sort of invisible ;) And some potential customers do not even know how to read EXIFs from a digital file.

    Of course your copyright note can be cut off the print, but also EXIF can easily be manipulated. So if someone means to steal it, he can always remove all traces of copyright and put his own on it :(

    Oh, and by the way, if with an image it is unclear, if there might be copyright on it, then it is always safe to assume there is ... to be ignorant does not help :p

    There are ways to include invisible watermarks in the image itself, the watermark then is in the digital image information (in the pixels), but remains invisible unless read out by software. This also still works if the image is printed as far as i know. such watermarks are much harder to remove, and people often do not know they are there. i guess this is a good way if one ever brings a case of copyright infringement to court, to prove that the image is yours ;)
    Such software which can do it has its price though:
    http://www.digimarc.com/tech/dwm.asp
     
  3. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    Yes, once you take the photograph, you have the copyright and the ability to enforce it. If you ever need to enforce it, your life will be much easier if you register your images with the US Copyright Office. This gives you evidence that the photos belong to you. Typically, you can register a CD full of 250 pixel (in the long dimension) images for about $30.

    Also, just because you took a photograph, that doesn't imply that you can use it for anything you want. You may still have to obtain the rights to use it. There's a difference between copyright and usage rights.
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    exactly.... with a photograph of a page of a copyrighted book being the most extreme example:

    - the photographer has the copyright of the photograph

    - whoever has the copyright for the content of the book, has the copyright for the content of the photograph

    - that leaves the photographer with no usage rights ;)
     
  5. Peacemaker636

    Peacemaker636 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, and I knew about the usage rights ;).

    So should I use watermarks then? Just a big, ol' "(C) ALEX STARR" across the picture?
     
  6. auer1816

    auer1816 TPF Noob!

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    If you want to, there's nothing saying you can't. It just depends on how big they are and if you're really worried about somebody ripping them off. If you're allowing people to view a full sized image, you should definitely put something on there. If you're showing a 600 pixel image or something, you probably shouldn't worry about it. If you're selling to somebody that might use the image for a mock-up (like advertisers or publishers) it's probably best to give them a low-res non-watermarked image. The watermark might turn them away from even considering the photo -- but it depends on how picky they are.
     
  7. Peacemaker636

    Peacemaker636 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks.
     
  8. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    I am also going to throw this one out there - though I know we are talking more digital files online viewing and such. If you print your images for a customer - have a stamp that states "Alex Starr Photography - for additional prints contact me at ______" That way this individual can't take the print they bought from you in to be scanned and copied. (If you work appears to be professional, the lab has a responsibility to ask for a release to print, but there are going to be labs which don't do that) It silently screams to whoever is copying that it is not legal. Hopefully that all makes sense.
     
  9. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    I wouldnt trust labs toooo much enforcing copyright as far as I know.

    I have had ritz print many pictures that have my own personal watermark on them and they so far havent asked me for identification that it was really Josh Smith on the pictures. You know, now that I think about it, it might be because I have a ritz photo card in my name.........
     
  10. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Unfortunately I think you are right DeepSpring, most labs don't - and it might very well be that the people at that lab know that you take your own images. That's hoping.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Yes, but if you actually want better than a snowball's chance in hell of actually enforcing copyright in a court of law you'll need to get your photos registered with the US Copyright Office.

    http://www.copyright.gov/
     

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