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Copyright Registration: How to Copyright Your Photographs

By Hanssie on July 9th 2014

In a culture of Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram and the countless memes that float across my newsfeed everyday, copyright infringement is a battle for many photographers. Each time you click the shutter, you as the photographer own the copyright to that image (unless a contract you signed states otherwise). But, if someone infringes on your copyright, registering for copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office is an important step if you want to ensure that you are fully protected and can benefit the full amount of damages should a lawsuit arise. Registering a copyright also protects your clients in the event your photo is infringed upon.


The process is fairly simple. A few years ago, the U.S. Copyright Office started accepting electronic registrations which allows for faster processing times, lower fees, uploading, and online payments with a few clicks of a button. In this quick video, David Wells walks us through how to register your work with the Library of Congress and the U.S. Copyright Office. It’s easy and photographers should make a habit of regularly registering their work and as Wells suggests, building it into your workflow.

[Via CreativeLive]

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Anjo Joshy

    Thanks for your good explaination

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  2. trademarKing trademarKing

    nice one. thanks a lot it explains all important points.

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  3. LegalRaasta –

    great article. Clearly explains the important of copyright registration. you can get copyright registration at legalraasta.
    Link –

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  4. Eaga Mariyappan

    This was very helpful article regarding copyright registration for photographs! I shared a link here about copyright registration procedure. Thanks.

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  5. Peter-Jon Harding

    Copyright is such an important issue. It’s always good to understand how it works and how it can help you. Thanks guys

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  6. Rob Chaney

    Just a note I recently discovered about copyrighting, in May 2014 the US changed the copyright process. It is not $35 for ONE image and $55 for a collection of images as described in video.

    Not sure why the editor of this article did not mention that change since was a July article.

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  7. Ralph Hightower

    I like this guy! I have been programming computers since 1972, so I have seen a vast transformation in the computer industry, storage media, and also file formats.
    I’ve seen 8 inch floppy disks shrink down to 5.25 down to 3.5 inches. Compact Disk (CD) were supposed to be forever; but DVD came along and now there’s Blu-Ray.
    JPEG is supposed to be a forever standard. But who’s to say that the committee won’t change the file format standard?
    Prints. But prints will fade like the other optical media. But there has been no method established to verify that optical media won’t be readable 50 years from now.
    Computer chips will change, operating systems will change, image processing programs will change. That is one thing that we can all rely on.

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  8. Brian Stalter

    There is also a video on YouTube that is hosted by B&H that talks about copyrighting images.

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    Hey guys i think you are doing a great job with the copyright education…. thanks alot i highly appreciate

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