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Photography – To Copyright Or Not?

I’ve been struggling with the whole ‘copyright on my photos’ thing for a lot time. I go through different stages. I post a lot of photos online and I certainly don’t want to see my girls end up on a billboard overseas without my knowledge. I think it’s mostly in my response to just being lazy. I love to take photos but the whole resizing large files, editing, and adding a copyright just seems like an extra step that I don’t really care about.

Plus it sure doesn’t look good when you slap a .com right over someones face.

Nothing shows off great photography like words over your photo.

It’s all about branding..see that face?

In all seriousness though should I be copyrighting my photos? If someone is going to take it they can easily just chop it off.

I’m still unsure of how I feel about it so I need your advice.

To copyright?

Tell me how you do it.

17 Comments

  1. Tricia on November 11, 2011 at 1:30 am

    while i don’t do all my photo I do the better one’s and I always complain to my mom about it because she doesnt’ do hers. After reading a few other bloggers horror stories over the last few yrs i think its wise



  2. Sarah on October 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s a shame that we even have to worry about someone stealing our photos and using them for their own personal gain.



  3. Tammi @ My Organized Chaos on October 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Same issue with me!!
    I hate having to ‘deface’ a good photo too, yet there’s some assurance when you do it. Though I don’t watermark right over faces, I like to put it somewhere, as proof it’s mine.
    Wonder if they do crop, you have legal rights?

    Good post, Kristin!!



  4. Connie on October 9, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Oh, and I use Picnik.com to add my logo – fast, easy, & free! 🙂



  5. Connie on October 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

    All photos are copyrighted the moment you post them, I think what you mean is watermark. I used to not bother with it and I still don’t track down stolen pictures, but with Pinterest and all the other services like it I consider it branding. I now add my logo to every picture not to try to keep others from stealing it, but if they do, at least my logo with the URL will be on it. Yes, they can remove it, but hopefully they won’t bother and it might result in some traffic 🙂

    Oh, and I don’t deface the photo with it, I hate that – it ruins the picture in my opinion.



  6. George on October 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I was about to say the same thing as Mike, but read what he said first. This has been the law for copyright since 1979 I think. You can also embed it in the file info for the image itself if you want to have it included with the image but not on the image itself.



  7. Mike on October 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    When you produce any piece of intellectual property, it immediately ‘copyrighted’ and you own the copyright. Under the DMCA, you have the right to demand that people take down your images posted or used without your permission.



  8. Naomi on October 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I feel about the same as Cat does. I do think you should keep pictures fairly low resolution online just so you don’t have someone trying to print posters or something.



  9. Kristin on October 6, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Great responses, if it were easy to add my logo to pictures that probably sounds like it would be good for me. Certain photos I make sure to copyright but I kind of feel like some of you. If someone is going to steal it, they’re going to. I hope that in this online world we have enough respect for one another that we always give photo credits. I’d hope that happens.



    • HunnerWoof on March 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

      Copyrighting doesn’t prevent theft. However, it protects your interest and allows you to recover damages when theft occurs.



  10. christina on October 6, 2011 at 8:04 am

    i’ve gone back and forth with this for the same reasons you describe. something i will ALWAYS do when putting a photo on my blog or on Facebook, etc, is to make it low res so that if someone does steal it, they can’t really do too much with it b/c it’s not high res enough. and lately, i’ve been slapping on “finallyMom” somewhere on the pic just in case… but the truth is that anyone can still steal the photo and cut out the FM- i think that’s why some folk put it over the face.



  11. Janet W. on October 6, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I would copyright if I were you. Just like you said, who knows where your pictures could end up! I think the few extra minutes it takes to copyright it is worth the safety of your children!! 🙂



  12. courtney on October 6, 2011 at 6:41 am

    you could always just put a little logo on the right side in the bottom?



  13. Tasha W on October 6, 2011 at 2:26 am

    I have always copyrighted my photos. Like you said, how important are your photos to you? Including your children that are in them? I certainly wouldn’t want my child’s face on a billboard overseas like you have mentioned! For the little time it takes to re size and put your watermark on your photo, it seems more than worth it to me. I feel more comfortable knowing I have covered my butt, shall I need to take legal action. I would recommended using http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm it’s wonderful and super fast for re sizing multiple pictures in literally seconds as well as you can make your own little blog logo and put it on the bottom of every photo within seconds too! It’s a fabulous FREE program:) Best of luck xo



  14. malia palea on October 6, 2011 at 2:00 am

    i don’t copyright my photos. It is a good idea though!



  15. Cat Davis - Food Family Finds on October 5, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    I use to be a stickler about it but gave up. If someone wants to steal a photo they’re going to do it with or without the watermark. When I find it, I file a notice with their web host.



  16. Ashley Bird on October 5, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I personally like to copyright my photos because I don’t want people using them without my permission! It does take extra time but its worth it! Once you get the hang of it, copyrighting goes a lot faster!