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Old Sep 4, 2003, 10:00 PM   #1
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Hey Everyone,

Im sure there are some people on here that know and want to know how to go about copyrighting photographs so that you can sell them (and protect them). Maybe Im even approching this wrong. I just want to make them so people know they are from the original photographer. Could you go about this with a "Certificate of Authenticity"? Please, if anyone does this and is willing to tell a beginner how to get started. Please post.
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 4:21 AM   #2
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I'm in England, so my knowledge is limited to our law - although it is the law of the land of the originating work that applies in cross-boundary infringements. Copyright automatically exists, you don't claim it or register it - it's already yours from the moment the work is created and until 50 years after your death, in the absence of alternative arrangements.

In the US, there is an organisation (I'm sure some US posters will provide details) where you can pay a fee and send them a CD of your images to archive and register as your work, should there be a future disupute with those works, but I don't know how useful or necessary that is.

I've had images and other creative work plagiarised many times over the years, much more since the Internet took off, I have never had to progress beyond the "I have proof that this work belongs to me and when it originated, do you wish my lawyer to contact yours to discuss it?" stage. I'm sure there are times when it progresses further, but with the advent of the Internet, some work is always going to be stolen and you have to accept a certain amount of that goes with the benefits. But if you have good records and back ups and keep the original files with their EXIF in tact, just relax, knowing you can take action with confidence if you need to. I NEVER make original files available to anyone else, with the exif in tact, so no one else can ever provide that data - although I know it can possibly be munged by the determined.

If you look at the music site in my portfolio, there's a copyright statement on there which serves as a first point of warning and more importantly, is restospective proof that you weren't giving free reign to viewer to use your work - to counter the "well, all work on the Internet is free to use and I wasn't making any money anyway" arguments - that is the explanation almost every time. If I provide any work on CD to clients etc., the same sort of wording appears on the CD in a text document alongside the files and an abridged version on the labels/sleeve.

If you feel you need more protection than already exists in law, you'd need to consult an intellectual property lawayer and with the international implications of the web, it's a complicated business - and may prove expensive.
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 5:01 PM   #3
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Also, if you save the files with Photoshop (and presumably other programs :S) you can insert a "digital watermark" into the file, with information such as your name. Though I don't have Photoshop on this computer so can't remember exactly how to do it :S
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Old Sep 5, 2003, 5:34 PM   #4
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What exactly is that, and what does it do? How does it provent people of aquiring it without my promission?
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Old Oct 25, 2003, 8:02 PM   #5
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I believe it is based on steganography.

see: www.digimarc.com
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Old Oct 27, 2003, 8:43 PM   #6
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UniSon, if you put a photo on the internet, there is no way you can prevent someone from downloading and altering it. If you code it to prevent a download, we can just download the whole page, and select the photograph.

Therefore, don't post your most valuable shots unless in thumbnail size.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 3:49 AM   #7
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Yes, I agree. The least you could do is never part with the original photo. Thumbnails, lower quality versions, or even cropped photos may be forgivable, but to an extent.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 12:23 PM   #8
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If you're going to put them up on the web, nobody can guarantee them not being pilfered but try adding a watermark. I've attatched an example of one but, you could have that right across the picture if you wanted. I think that would discourage anyone using a picture.

Mark

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Old Oct 28, 2003, 6:03 PM   #9
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As you can see, I think a watermark does nothing. In just a couple of minutes, I removed his from the bottom corner and replaced it with "John Doe". I also replaced the origional watermark to keep Mark from getting mad at me!

My point is it is really not necessary to watermark an image. Anyone can remove it. It is still copyright material. If anyone can prove that they are the author (a high-res version is proof), they can go after damages if someone infringes on it.

I am really not worried about pictures we post here. They are too small to be useful for anything other than web use. They are worthless for print.

If some day, you are flipping through a magazine and see an ad with your photograph used without permission, GO GET 'EM!

You can buy/sell photographs here: [ulr]http://www.eyewire.com[/ulr]

Look how they protect them.
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Old Oct 28, 2003, 8:44 PM   #10
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If you use a technique like that offered by Digimarc (see post above), the digital watermark is actually a message (directly linked to your registered copyright/copy restriction notice) that is encoded and spread across the whole extent of the image in a way that cannot be removed with ordinary image editing programs. The message is invisible to the viewer and thus in not obtrusive. Any copy of a digimarc marked image will still bear the original watermark, and it will be preserved through repeated copy generations until the image itself is too degraded to be useful to anyone. This attribute will help you to recover damages from anyone who violates your copy restrictions, since you can prove that the image in question has your copy protection information still encoded in the image.

I mention Digimarc cuz its watermarking tool is included in PSP and PS (and probably most other good image editing programs). Digimarc services cost you a few bucks, but if you are really serious about protecting your IP, then it should be worth it. There are other sources of stegonographic image protection beside Digimarc, try Googling on <stegonography digital image>.
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