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Copyright Question.
Old 08-02-2004, 05:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I am well aware of the need to both copyright and register my photos and I do it religiously but I have a question about putting a copyright mark on a photo that is destined for use on the Internet or that will be emailed.

In the past I have used the open and close parenthesis around the letter 'c' along with the year and my name to designate a photo of mine is copyrighted but lately I am hearing that the parenthesis are not a valid form of a copyright mark and will not protect me.

What I want to ask is how do my fellow photographers put a circle around the 'c' on their photos? Most photographers I know use Adobe Photoshop (and so do I) and I have tried to figure out how to put that circle around the 'c' with no success. Can someone please let me in on the technique here? Thanks a bunch.
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Re: Copyright Question.
Old 08-02-2004, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Note: To type the copyright symbol © on the PC hold down the ALT key and type "0169" on the numeric keypad. On the MAC hold down the ALT/OPTION key and press "g".

It seems to me I have to hold the alt key on the right side of keyboard.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Copyright Question.
Old 08-02-2004, 06:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
In the past I have used the open and close parenthesis around the letter 'c' along with the year and my name to designate a photo of mine is copyrighted but lately I am hearing that the parenthesis are not a valid form of a copyright mark and will not protect me.


[/ QUOTE ]

Dave, that's correct. The parenthesis will not legally meet the requirements of the Berne Convention on Copyrights, which is the international treaty that the US and most other countries have adopted to provide a world-wide consistent copyright framework.

The convention requires the copyright notice be in one of three means:

One of the following...
1. the copyright symbol © which, as has already been mentioned, is generated on a PC keyboard by holding down the ALT key, hitting the number pad 0-1-6-9 keys and then letting up the ALT key
2. the abbreviation "Copr."
3. the word "Copyright" in English
Plus the year first published or created followed by the name of the copyright holder...

And, the coyright office advises that you use a person or a business name instead of a web site (which is only as permanent as your domain registration, etc.) as the name of the copyright holder.

That ALT +0-1-6-9 should work on all Windows applications, by the way... or, you can make a stamp in Photoshop so as to make it easy for you to put the copyright notice on the image, or you can make an action to do it, or, like I do, open up an image of the copyright notice and put it in over the image as a separate lalyer...



That help any?
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Re: Copyright Question.
Old 08-02-2004, 08:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Almost all typefaces have a Copyright symbol in them - use a typeface mapping program to find the one in the typeface you're using, or copy and paste one you like from a different typeface. In many TrueType fonts, the symbol is produced by pressing option (or alt)g.

You don't need to include a Copyright symbol, or in fact any copyright notice at all, for a copyright to attach to your work: the copyright comes into being at the moment of creation under US law.

However, in some countries, it greatly eases the burden of proof and provides for better damages if you do, in fact, provide a copyright notice. The circle-c is the most universally accepted one and should be used.

M
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Wrong.
Old 08-02-2004, 09:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Your answer is wrong.

Since ca. 1984, the Berne Convention and the laws of all signatory nations no longer requires the copyright symbol or any other language to copyright a work. The copyright exists at the instant it is fixed in tangible form.
 
 
Re: Wrong.
Old 08-03-2004, 12:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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RBP says [ QUOTE ]
Your answer is wrong. Since ca. 1984, the Berne Convention and the laws of all signatory nations no longer requires the copyright symbol or any other language to copyright a work. The copyright exists at the instant it is fixed in tangible form.

[/ QUOTE ]

You're correct, as far as it goes. There is no legal requirement to put a copyright notice on any work, and it is indeed copyrighted the instant it is fixed in a tangible form (to include electronic or facsimilie copies). But....

Putting the copyright notice, in the way the Berne Convention states that is required for a copyright notice to be valid, is very beneficial to the copyright owner.

From the US Copyright office: Copyright office info

[ QUOTE ]
The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U. S. law, although it is often beneficial. Because prior law did contain such a requirement, however, the use of notice is still relevant to the copyright status of older works.

Notice was required under the 1976 Copyright Act. This requirement was eliminated when the United States adhered to the Berne Convention, effective March 1, 1989. Although works published without notice before that date could have entered the public domain in the United States, the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (URAA) restores copyright in certain foreign works originally published without notice. For further information about copyright amendments in the URAA, request Circular 38b.

The Copyright Office does not take a position on whether copies of works first published with notice before March 1, 1989, which are distributed on or after March 1, 1989, must bear the copyright notice.

Use of the notice may be important because it informs the public that the work is protected by copyright, identifies the copyright owner, and shows the year of first publication. Furthermore, in the event that a work is infringed, if a proper notice of copyright appears on the published copy or copies to which a defendant in a copyright infringement suit had access, then no weight shall be given to such a defendant's interposition of a defense based on innocent infringement in mitigation of actual or statutory damages, except as provided in section 504(c)(2) of the copyright law. Innocent infringement occurs when the infringer did not realize that the work was protected.


[/ QUOTE ]

In other words... if you put a copyright notice on your image, and I use it, the court will not allow me to claim that I didn't know it was copyrighted unless the very specific circumstances (cited above) exist.

So, yeah... you're correct. You DON'T HAVE TO put a copyright notice on your work. But, if you do, you have to do it the correct way for it to be valid, and the Berne Convention specifies those three particular ways to do it. Thus, my answer, too, was correct.

Also, US court decisions, from what I understand in my research, have limited the ability of a copyright holder to obtain the statutory damages (the $30,000) in cases where a valid copyright notice was on the work. This is not the same as actual damages, which can be awarded regardless of whether the notice was fixed to the work or not.

Wayne
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Re: Wrong.
Old 08-03-2004, 08:47 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Ooops...

[ QUOTE ]
...have limited the ability of a copyright holder to obtain the statutory damages (the $30,000) in cases where a valid copyright notice was on the work.

[/ QUOTE ]

That shoulda been "in cases where a valid copyright notice was NOT on the work."


Mea culpa

Wayne
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