While it would be nice to live in a house where you don't have to lock the door, it's not practical these days. Likewise, here are 10 things you can do to help safeguard your images from being stolen.
#1 Use the copyright "notice" ?the ? with a date and name of the copyright owner whenever you publish your images. It may stop someone from copying an image, either because the person will be reminded that the image belongs to someone or because the notice impairs the image for the person's use.
#2 Include with your copyright notice the words "All Rights Reserved." Some additional international protection is added.
#3 Register your copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office. While you own the copyright to your image when you click the shutter (in most instances), registration itself provides some evidence that the image is yours. Register it even if it's already published. It's better late than never.
#4 If you find a website that is unlawfully using one of your images, follow the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to contact the Internet Service Provider who must then remove the material from user's website.
#5 When you provide copies of your images to someone else, put IN WRITING the specific rights of usage you are giving that person.
#6 Put a copyright notice on your website, such as: All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Carolyn Wright Photography. They are protected by the U.S. copyright laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Carolyn Wright Photography.
#7 Don't steal others work, such as music. Get a license if you need a tune to accompany your slideshow. Teach your children and others to respect other's work.
#8 Read the fine print whenever you submit your image to anyone/anywhere to make sure that it's not a license agreement to use your image or to transfer the copyright.
#9 Include your copyrights in your estate planning, along with your other assets such as your house and furnishings.
#10 Sue those who steal your work. Send the message that you value your work.
Copyright 2005 Carolyn E. Wright All Rights Reserved
--- ABOUT THE AUTHOR ---
Carolyn E. Wright, Esq., has a unique legal practice aimed squarely at the needs of photographers. A pro photographer herself, Carolyn has the credentials and the experience to protect photographers. She's represented clients in multimillion dollar litigations, but also has the desire to help new photographers just starting their careers. Carolyn graduated from Emory University School of Law with a Juris Doctor, and from Tennessee Tech Univ. with a Masters of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in music.
She wrote the book on photography law. "88 Secrets to the Law for Photographers," by Carolyn and well-known professional photographer, Scott Bourne, is scheduled for fall 2005 release by Olympic Mountain School Press. Carolyn also is a columnist for PhotoFocus Magazine.
Carolyn specializes in wildlife photography and her legal website is http://www.photoattorney.com