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How to copyright pictures and images

Copyright pictures? With digital photography it's easy to build up a vast collection of photographs.  
prove copyright of photographs
And the image copyright on those photos is with you, the photographer that took the picture.

But are you sure they are safe?

Could someone be making money off the back of your efforts?

What is needed is an independent organisation to hold the copyright on your pictures.

Then you can be confident of your ability to prove ownership if you ever need to dispute an image.

Fortunately such organisations do exist, and they are so easy to use it's a wonder more photographers don't make use of them. It's actually really easy to copyright pictures.

The concept is simple - pass your images over to an independent organisation who will protect your photos for you.

The organisation should time stamp the exact date and time that they received the photos.

They should also allocate the photo a unique identifying number.

And finally thay should link that number to you, the photographer that took the photo.

If anyone disputes your copyright of a photo that you have lodged you can simply point them to the organisation that you lodged the image. Problem solved.

Equally, if you find someone using your photographs without your permission (or without payment - it is after all your work), you either ask them to remove the photo, or request payment for its use.

And there is no way they can refuse, provided you have lodged your photos; time and date stamped them, and linked them via a unique reference number.

Of course, if you haven't protected your photos there is nothing you can do. It's therefore vital to copyright pictures and images

How to copyright pictures

What you need to copyright your pictures and images is an independent organisation.

But not just any organisation!

The organisation should:
  • provide a simple upload service
  • give you a generous amount of storage space (so that you can upload an exact copy of your original file, not a reduced version)
  • time and date stamp your photos for you
  • allocate a unique identifying number for you
  • use the 'Berne Convention'
The Berne Convention is an international agreement by, currently, 163 countries covering the copyright of artistic works.

The organisation I use does all of the above, and adds a neat extra twist for photographers too.

Before I get to that, have a look at the screenshot below. It's one of my photographs that I have safely stored and copyrighted.

how to prove copyright of photographs

Looking at the screenshot you can clearly see:
  • The name of my photograph
  • The time and date that I uploaded the image
  • A unique id - assigned to me, and me only.
And those 'extras' for photographers?

Well, if you hover your mouse over the 'Preview' button, you get a little thumbnail of the image you have copyrighted.

And yet another 'extra' for photographers - free backup of your images!

This free backup is essentially a by-product of the service. When you copyright your photographs you upload them to a remote server.

There they all are - copyrighted, and stored. Not stored in reduce format, but the entire file. If you shoot in RAW the original RAW file is stored, not a reduced version.

If you do shoot in RAW you won't be able to see the thumbnails, like the one in the screen shot above. What I do is upload the original RAW file, then upload a low quality JPEG too. That way the original RAW is copyrighted, and I can see what the photo is from the thumbnail of the JPEG. If you don't shoot RAW simply ignore this!

You have complete access to your uploaded images (password protected). So if anything disasterous happens to your hard drive, no problem!

Log on, and all your original image files will be there for you to download again.

There is more good news too. If you stay subscribed, you get complete functionality and can upload more and more images.

But if you decide to 'unsubscribe' your images are not lost. In fact, they stay available to you for ten full years after unsubscribing. And the copyright is maintained for those ten years too.

Click to find out about the service I use and start protecting and copyrighting your pictures (and get a free photo backup service for free!)

copyright your pictures and images

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