Every photographer should not only know how to take pictures but also how to take good care of them once they are published. Read our guide with professional tips!
Know your basic rights
Copyright is something you do not apply for. Unless you signed a specific legal agreement, once you create an artwork – take a picture, you immediately receive the copyright to that image. Only when you agree to take photographs for somebody else, the copyright might be transferred to another person. If you did not sign any agreements and the picture was used without your consent – this must be called copyright infringement. There are certain ways to prevent your pictures from getting stolen and it is not rocket science. Let’s start with something that most of us use every single day.
Use Social Media responsibly
Of course, we all want to be there… but social media can be tricky! Remember to always read terms & conditions before you decide to share your pictures. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – your images might be used across all of these platforms unless you find out in advance and SAY NO! Running a successful Facebook fan page requires creating and publishing a lot of content which might be challenging sometimes. Still, it does not serve as an excuse for stealing someone’s work. In our everyday practice – while monitoring our Clients’ portfolios – we come across a lot of stolen pictures that we find on different social media accounts
Register your work, even if it’s not necessary
As stated in the first paragraph, it is not necessary to register your images with the US Copyright office but there are certain benefits which could be of great use for you, especially when you become a victim of image theft. Depending on the country, there might be several differences in the process of registration, but a lot of countries rely on US Copyright Registrations when it comes to proving the ownership. You can read more about the entire procedure and the benefits here. We explained every single step in detail.
Prove your rights
In case you didn’t register your images, it is important to be able to provide as much information as possible once you need to prove the ownership of a certain photograph. The more info you have, the better, so keep your documentation nicely organised. Track the publications. It is important to be able to deliver the original file and the date when the image was taken. Such data should suffice to prove that it was you who took a certain photograph.
Take action if you spot copyright infringement
Once you come across your picture being stolen, do not let the emotions overtake you but act quickly. First, think about all the possible steps that you can take in order to gather as much evidence as possible. The easiest thing you can do is to take screenshots capturing unauthorised use of your picture. Remember about the URL bar – it is going to be helpful in finding the image thief. Take a closer look at the page and try to figure out what kind of website is it where you found your picture. Does it serve a commercial purpose or is it more of personal use? Then, let us do the rest of the work for you. Addressing the opponent on your own behalf could be quite complicated and may not bring the desired results. Years of experience taught us how to deal with different cases and you can easily trust our Case Managers who will start the professional negotiations right away.
Take all the possible steps to prevent image theft
Unfortunately, there is not one single golden practice to protect the images from getting stolen. But keeping in mind the tips listed above should reduce the percentage of unlawful practices. Except for reading the terms and conditions, you should display copyright notices around your work too. You can start using digital signatures and watermarks (soon we will write more about these, so stay tuned!). In order to make sure there is not a single image stolen from you without being aware of it, register today with PhotoClaim. Once you apply, we will start monitoring the vast ocean of the Internet and scan it for copyright infringement. Soon we will be back with the number of findings.