A few weeks ago, KI and I traveled to the Library of Congress to register over 200 photos of mine with the Copyright Office. For those who know copyright law, you may be asking, “why register? Your photos are protected as soon as they are created.” That’s true. All my photos that you view are protected under the Copyright Law, but…And this is a big one. I cannot successfully stop anyone from using my photos without registering my work with the Copyright Office. I can ask them to remove the photo. I can get an attorney involved, but most courts will not side with me without proof of copyright. That’s historically what has occurred in copyright cases.
I live with an author. If someone steals KI’s ebooks and offers them for free, we lose income. I don’t sell that many photos so income is not the issue here, but it could one day be the issue. Copyright is not really about money though, it’s about the creation of art. It’s about protecting what we, as artists, have created.
Not everything on the internet is for the taking, and unfortunately when posting photos to share, some people like the photos so much that they want to use them as wallpaper, print them to hang on their walls( most of my internet photos are too small to be printed), or use them as note cards.
And I am all of sharing when proper credit is given, but not when the photo is passed off as someone else’s. In fact, I encourage the re-posting of my photos when you enjoy them. All I ask is that you give the artist, that’s me, credit for my creation.
But the above scenario is not the main reason to register the copyright for me. The larger issue is when businesses, organizations, and photo sharing sites like Facebook and Flicker decide that they want to use my photos in an advertisement but don’t want to pay for that use. Hasn’t happened to me that I know of, but it is happening on a daily basis to other photographers. Clever of these businesses to save a little money and time-helps the bottom line. It’s on their site, or the internet in general, so it must be free for the taking, right… wrong! And that is why I finally felt the need to copyright my images. Facebook, Flicker, and the rest of the internet do not own my images nor do they have the right to take them to use for their own profit.
I hope one day that some of my images will be seen as “good enough” to use commercially-that a business will pay for the use of them and give me proper credit. That would be awesome! Until that time, I hope I never have to enforce my copyright.
I definitely want to hear your thoughts on this subject, especially if you are an artist or author.
By the way, all of the images in this post and on this site are now registered with the Copyright Office.
As always, thank you for supporting my work!