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Copyright
Old 02-13-2010, 01:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I understand that a newer law says that you do not have to copyright your images that they are automatically copyrighted when you take it. While I agree with this in principal, does this not make it very hard to enforce your rights? Anyone know the pros and cons on this issue?
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Re: Copyright
Old 02-13-2010, 02:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It wouldn't say it is a new law (insofar as the US goes). To my knowledge it has been like that for decades. The problem lies with enforcement. If the images are not registered with the copyright office of the appropriate, you would have a much harder time getting the courts or lawyers involved.
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Re: Copyright
Old 02-13-2010, 05:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You can do a search on photography copyright laws on the Internet but my understanding of copyright laws in the U.S. is that the copyrights belong to the photographer from the instant of creation (ie, when you push the shutter release) but as Mark commented unless your photos are registered with the U.S. Patent Office it is hard to enforce your copyright.

I read something recently (and possibly it was here on GG) that the copyright laws have been eased slightly making it easier to protect your rights and photos with the U.S. Patent Office.

If you do a lot fo high value photography or is you need to know for a certainty the best thing to do is to find a good attorney in your area who deals with copyright and patent laws. Good luck.
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Re: Copyright
Old 02-16-2010, 09:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You do not have to register your images to own the copyright. The Copyright Act of 1978 makes it clear that when you create it, you own it. But, if you do not register your images and someone infringes on them, you are limited in the amount of damages you can seek in a court of law. Willful infringement can carry minimum damages of about $125,000 for each infringement if you have gone through with the Copyright registration prior to the infringement.

The Copyright office has made registration easier with online tools and so on. It is not the simplest thing in the world but it is also not the hardest. Fees vary depending on what and how you register ( published or unpublished). You can register a large quantities of images that where all shot in the same year if they are still unpublished for around $35.

I would suggest to all who have images that they are really trilled with and that might be posting to this site or others to register the images before publishing them. If you have the occasion to sell any images, make sure Rights and Usage are spelled out on your invoice and make sure you register them.
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Re: Copyright
Old 02-17-2010, 08:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The bottom line is, if you plan on recovering damages from an infringement, you need to have previously registered the image. Most lawyers will not even take the case if the image is not registered.
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