Photography: Protecting your Copyright

Copyright is yours the moment you create the work. Simply put, the second you click the shutter the resulting image belongs to you.

No formal registration is needed in more than 140 countries in the world to receive basic legal protection. But regardless, if you do feel that you don‘t understand certain legal points, it would put you in good stead to get some legal advice from people you know and trust.

In any case, adding watermarks to your digital photos is something you might want to consider, if you’re not already doing it. In addition to attributing credit where it is due, watermarks are a good way to promote your brand and even more of your work as they leave a breadcrumb trail to your hoard of other treasures. If a person is moved by one picture you’ve taken, he’ll be wanting to look for many others like it.

When you are in the business of selling your work, you need to understand reproduction rights. If you agree to “single reproduction rights” you are granting the magazine or publisher rights to use the image once. If they decide to use the same print in a few months’ time, you’re entitled to further reproduction fees.

The ease of access provided by the Internet may leave you apprehensive and doubtful about whether or not it is safe for you to share your work online. I think it is to our advantage that Google have included image searches in their toolbox, allowing us without the use of words to see if and where our copyrighted material is used without our knowledge and without the necessary attribution.

In any case, do not be afraid, when spotting an obvious breach of your copyright, to contact the people concerned..

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