Poor Man’s Copyright
Because of the progression of web technology, web content and the overall internet culture we have now; it is no longer required for you to put a copyrighted notice on your work, or even blog posts. These days, many professionals see that as “amateurish.” However, this is my blog and I STRONGLY disagree. For every person against using notices because of blah blah blah, they’re also a lot of good sound reasons why you should. It’s not that I’m under the false impression that putting notices will stop someone from taking your photo and using it. Quite the contrary. Like the artists of old, every artist puts their signature on their paintings, so that admirers can know who the artists are. Why should that practice stop because today’s art happens to be digital? It’s not about “aesthetics” or anything of the sort, it’s about being proud enough of YOUR work to but your brand on it.
Although you’re not required to register your copyright, I highly encourage that you do anyway. The reasons are too big for this article so, I think it’s better you just google the subject, or download an ebook even better. However, if you’re like the many that can’t afford to purchase copyright for each work, here are two important tips to be aware of, and remember you read it first on ShadesOfSepia!
First good idea is to collect your finished photographic works and submit them in book form, this way you can file the copyright as one unit. If for what ever reason in the future you need to modify one of your images, you can just resubmit for an update. So think if it like a bulk submission, but not really. It’s a cleaver way to save a crap load of money on copyright registration.
The second and last huge tip is, if you still can’t afford copyright, and you’ve discovered someone has used your work for commercial use, modified your work (and non-transformative), or used it outside of fair use guidelines (please read about fair use, too many people think they understand it and a lot of people don’t) without your permission, and your work is not registered, here’s what you do:
Organize your digital files in question. Personally I think it’s easier to view them in Windows Explorer for this purpose. Right click on the headers in Windows Explorer and turn on the “Date Created.” Just look for the oldest date, and that is your copyright. I also recommend that you only do this for your RAW files, because the person that takes your photos is not going to have your RAW files. That is your proof hands down! Hope this helps. It’s all about sharing and paying it forward (to those who’d listen). Peace…..