How to Copyright a Photograph

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A photography is copyrighted the second the shutter is tripped, but registering for a copyright can help to further protect the images from being used illegally. Copyright a photograph, using a watermark on all published images, with information from a professional freelance photographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Photography Tips & Projects
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Video Transcript

Alright, in this segment we're actually going to talk about how to copyright your photographs. Copyright is a serious situation now-a-day's because you really, copyright is the right to copy your work and make money off of it, so it's important to have that in place when you want to start actually making money off of your work. Technically, with a photograph, the minute you press the shutter down, you have copyrighted your photograph. People can't use it, but the copyright is actually only of the picture that comes out. So, for example, if I took a picture, I have a friend Megan, I take pictures of her all the time. If I took a picture of her sitting in this chair wearing a purple shirt, and her hair is curled, that particular photo that I took would be copyrighted, but if someone else took their camera, took a picture of Megan in this chair, with a purple shirt and her hair curled, they could also copyright their photograph. It's not the idea that's copyrighted, it's actually just the photograph that's copyrighted. Copyright, you can register for one, and I'll explain that in just a second, but really the only use of it is, in that case, if somebody actually infringes upon your copyright and takes it and tries to sell your work and uses it in an advertisement, and you want to make money off that advertisement, you can actually sue them for money for the rights to every piece of thing that they sold with that if you have a copyright registered. So, for example, if you take a picture of something and then you find that picture in a frame that somebody's selling in the store, you can actually sue them for the rights to every picture in every frame that they sell. If you want to go ahead and copyright your photograph, all you have to really do is go online, I mean, if you press copyright in, you can usually find a form and you just send it in to the U.S. copyright office, and it's really not that expensive, I think it's about sixty bucks. And also, they have these things call trademarks or watermarks, which is basically just like when you put anything out besides the original that has a little watermark on it that basically says your name so no one can take it away from you anyway.

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