Registering Copyright

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Alleh Lindquist, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    I figured I would just explain how to register copyright of photographs incase anyone does not know. It is very simple these days just go to www.copyright.gov create an account on the eCO by clicking on the forms link on the main page. Once you have an account you locate the Register a new claim link fill out the form, make the payment and upload or send in hard copies of your images. You can upload your photographs as jpg format in a zip file or send them in on a CD/DVD. That pretty much sums up the main idea. They have a help system you can find most questions answered also.
     
  2. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    as a musician, I can tell you there is a free way of copyrighting your work (no matter what it is) that is, on the day you create the image, or images, burn them to a disk (with exif data included) and mail it to yourself, make sure the envelope is post marked (dated by the post office) when yo receive the mail, dont open it, just file it... then BOOM your work is copyrighted.. if someone tries to steal your work, cause they find it online or something.. you have the orignals.. and if you take them to court, take your envelope..
     
  3. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Um...what?

    Copyright is not an opt-in process and hasn't been since the 1970s. When you create a work, it's copyrighted. No silly rigmaroles required.
     
  4. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    So right! For others who like reading to believe us,

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties/berne/overview.html

    Also: Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created
    in fixed form. The copyright in the work of authorship
    immediately becomes the property of the author who created
    the work.

    http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf

    So there's no need to mail yourself an empty envelope and seal it later with your proof of date as something that isn't a proof of date. :lol:

    Finally the Cliff Notes version:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyrights

    You can still register works for further protection, and you can't collect some damages without having the photo registered. You have 90 days from the discovery of the infraction to register the work and file a claim, after that your rights are still protected but compensation may be reduced.
     
  5. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    yes this is true, when you create work, its yours... however, if someone else claims it as theirs, and you dont have some form of proof (i.e. my suggestion) its just your word against theirs...

    this is a hot topic for me, because there is a local "photographer" in my area who has been posting other peoples photos on her site, and putting her watermark on them... unfortunatley, the people who she stole the stuff from, didnt have any form of proof, so the court case was just a "your word against hers" and it was dismissed.
     
  6. RacePhoto

    RacePhoto TPF Noob!

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    I'll repeat myself. They have 90 days to register their photos, after discovery, and file a claim against her.

    Don't they have their original photos, the RAW or anything with the EXIF data? There is data embedded in the original files and maybe there's even proof in her stolen files that will trace back to the original camera.

    Postmark on an envelope is NOT proof.
     
  7. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    If you don't file for registration your copyright is worthless other then to say "hey you can't use that", only registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney's fees in successful litigation.
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    no that was a big part of the suggested Orphan Bill - the fact that you had to register before to make a claim. The other part was the dividing of the registration up into different companies and associated charging to register.

    As has been said you don't need to register to challenge ownership, what you need is proof that you were the original artist who created the works. Registration does help in this respect as it acts as a form of proof - as well as allowing you to file for increased/better changes of damages
     
  9. Alleh Lindquist

    Alleh Lindquist TPF Noob!

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    Proving ownership is one thing but actually being able to sue for damages is another. If you have not filed your photograph you can only collect actual damages and today that could be almost nothing as they can prove they could have purchased a similar photo off istock for a buck. Plus you will have to pay all legal fees out of your own pocket. Here is some info directly copied off the copyright site.

    “Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin. “

    “If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate. “

    “If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner. “



    If you intend to be a commercial photographer you absolutely have to register all of your work to protect yourself and your clients.

    If you shoot a major campaign for Nike and then a small sports company uses the images for a billboard Nike is going to sue you and if your work is not registered your going to be up a sh*t creek.
     
  10. roadkill

    roadkill TPF Noob!

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    Most attorneys will work on contingency in these cases. You are protected from the moment you make the shot. Any extra protection is great. But really for me.... too much hassle for every shot I want to put out there.
     
  11. E6filmuser

    E6filmuser TPF Noob!

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    The situation in the USA is (unless it has changed) different from that in the UK. In the UK copyright belongs to the photographer unless they sell it or donate it. That lasts until 50 (?) years after your death.
     
  12. Stogie

    Stogie TPF Noob!

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    Your absolutely right. Register anything you care about.
     

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