Photo Attorney

Jun 21, 2006

"Copyrighting" vs. "Registering" Your Photos

Many photographers have learned the advantages of sending copies of their photos along with the required VA form and check to the U.S. Copyright Office, also known as "registering" your copyrights. Others call this "copyrighting" their photos, but using that term may cause problems.

Copyrights for photographers occur at the click of the shutter - it does not matter whether the image was shot with film or digitally. The laws related to that copyright are effective at that moment. Even if the photograph is never registered, the copyright exists and is protected by copyright law.

If the copyright is registered at a later time, additional benefits arise such as the option to recover statutory damages for infringements and the inference that the person who registered the copyright is the owner.

If photographers tell others that they are "copyrighting" their photos when they actually are registering them, others may believe that the photos are not protected until that time. Some may feel free to use the photos without permission or may not give photographers the credit due for their work.

To best protect your work, register your copyrights today (and refer to it that way).

Take my advice; get professional help.