Updated: Dec 20, 2019
As I am fairly new to being in the BUSINESS of equine photography, I have been an avid photographer for years. It wasn't until recently when I posted one of my photos that I was quite proud of, that another photography made the statement " If I were you I'd also make sure you cover all of backend copyright stuff for this photo. I can see this getting hijacked and posted all over the net without your permission.". It made my stomach feel a bit queezy.
I have taken approximately a year of educating myself, improving my craft in order to put into motion Roam Photos. This particular image was taken at the Phyllis Burchette Equine Photography Workshop in Georgia. Between the workshop, travel 10 hours to and from, hotel, and of course hours of editing, this one photo probably cost me over $1,000 to capture-just calculating the workshop alone! That does not even touch the amount of money I have spent on educating myself to become a good equine photographer, setting up a business, memeberships for editing tools, etc.!
So with my panicked state of mind, I started more research on the topic. I don't want MY image stolen and displayed as another's work. Yes, I want my image to draw people to Roam Photos, for folks to share and love it, but not claiming it as their work. Even as a casual photographer, blogger, social media person, you should know the copyright rules.
These days everyone’s snapping photos with cameras, phones and tablets. Although you may think your images are amateur and simply family images, you still have rights in them. You may even take a fabulous picture that has a life outside your friends and family circle. What does this all mean?
It means that copyright law protects your images, and you have the right to control who uses those photographs. This primer on how to protect photos you post online is equally relevant to professional and amateur photographers.
Copyright Protection in Images Is Automatic
Did you know that your copyright protection begins the moment you take a photo? That’s how copyright law works in the 177 countries around the world that are members of the Berne Convention. It makes no difference whether you take that photo with your smartphone, iPad or SLR camera. Once you save the photograph (or fix it, as copyright parlance calls it) on your phone, a memory card or otherwise, it’s automatically protected by copyright in the U.S. or other Berne member countries.
You don’t have to do anything to secure copyright protection. For instance, you don’t need to place the copyright symbol, ©, on the image or register it with the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). However, doing both these things will make it easier to enforce your rights and you’ll have greater remedies for unauthorized uses under the U.S. Copyright Act.
How To Protect Photos You Post Online
If you’re emailing your photos to your aunt or college roommate, you likely don’t need to register the images or even place the copyright symbol on them. However, if you’re selling your photos online or placing them on your blog or on any social media, there are proactive steps you should likely take. A good general rule to determine those proactive copyright steps is to first decide whether you would actually enforce your rights against any unauthorized uses. If you would, then read on!
Keep in mind that when it comes to copyright protection, there are no failsafe methods of ensuring that only those who have your permission will reproduce your images. However, there are easy things you can do, whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer, to protect your online photos, monitor uses and take action against any unauthorized uses.
Use the Copyright Symbol
One of the simplest ways — and it’s also free — to protect your photos is to place a copyright symbol © and notice on them.
Using a copyright symbol may be important if you’re sharing your photos online in public forums, whether on your own website or blog, a site where you sell your photographs or photography services, or posting images on social media such as Instagram or Flickr.
Many people mistakenly think that anything found online and in social media is free for the taking. The copyright symbol gently educates your social media followers that this isn’t true. The copyright notice reminds people that copyright exists in your images and states the copyright owner’s name (you!).
Also, always include a copyright link or dedicated page on your blog where you discuss copyright protection in your images, and provide your email address with a clickable link so readers have a quick and easy way to contact you for permission before using your images.
The Copyright Notice
There are three elements which should be present in a copyright notice:
The “c” in a circle, ©, or the abbreviation “Copr.” or the word “Copyright”The name of the copyright ownerThe year of first publication
These elements need not necessarily appear in this sequence. Here are some examples:
© Simon Soffit 2019Copyright © Simon Soffit 2019© 2019 Simon Soffit
Take the Time to Understand Copyright
Whether you’re a beginner or expert photographer, amateur or professional, your photographs are automatically protected by copyright. Learn about your rights and how to protect photos you post online. A first step is placing a copyright symbol, using a CC license, and considering registering your photos with the USCO.
Pittsburgh Equine Photographer, Pittsburgh Horse Photographer, Pittsburgh Pet Photographer, Pittsburgh Dog Photographer