Copyright law is often misinterpreted. We heard legends about people using copyrighted pictures which do not belong to them. Make sure you do not trust and make these common mistakes. Image protection has its rules. 

© g-stockstudio

Stealing photos is easy but it should not escape unseen. Ignorantia legis non excusat  – ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Let’s focus on the 5 MYTHS about copyright. You can read more about copyright TRUTHS in our Knowledge Base section.

1) The work is not copyright if the ‘©’ sign is missing

As soon as the work gets a tangible form, it is automatically copyrighted. It does not need to be marked with any signs like ‘©’ or a watermark. Once you click ‘save’, the piece is automatically copyrighted.

Marking your work with copyright signs is not obligatory but it may prevent a lot of potential infringements.

2) ’I appear in this picture so I have the right to use it’ copyright?

It may seem logical but is not true. It is the photographer who owns the right to the photo, not the person pictured.

3) The work was not registered /copyright so it can be used without any additional permission

We already said it once but it is worth being stated again: the copyright is automatically created as soon as the work gets a tangible form (the picture is captured, the book is written, the video is shot, etc.). It is not obligatory to register the work in the Copyright Office, though it surely has some benefits. You can read more about it and the entire process of registration here. In the United States, the work has to be registered before you can sue for it. However, at PhotoClaim, we perceive suing as a last resort. There are still other ways to get the money that you deserve from your copyrights. Find out how we work.

4) There was a logo/watermark placed in the picture which means it can be used and spread online. While doing so the photographer is being promoted.

Sorry, but it does not work like that. The logo or the watermark are supposed to remind you that the photographs are copyrighted and you are obliged to obtain permission from the photographer to use it. We will not exaggerate if we call using the photo without the photographer’s consent an image theft.

5) When the work is only partly copied, then changed and adapted, the copyrights to the original piece are not valid anymore.

Once again, wrong thinking. Changing someone’s else work has some restrictions on it. Despite applying changes, the copyrights of the original image still apply. In case the adapted work is sold and brings profits, the copyright owners may claim that money – and they have every right to do so. We do not say that looking for inspiration is forbidden. Feel free to do so but start with a blank sheet and use your own ideas.


Now, a couple of words to you Dear Photographers who are currently reading this and realizing that your work is often unappreciated and your rights are violated. Some people may think that it does not require much time and effort to take a perfect picture. ’It is all about the moment and these couple seconds to shoot‘ – most of the inexperienced would say. They tend to forget about all the hours you spend wandering around the city in search of a perfect shot or this eight-hours mountain trek you had to take to get to the summit to capture the sunset in a valley. Did anyone count the hours you spent on editing pictures? And what about the years of practice and gaining experience? What about protecting your pictures? Do you still have time for that? We know the answer. That is why we are here for you. Register with us for free, let us take care of your pictures and reclaim the money you deserve from your copyrights.

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