Technology has created a wide range of positive achievements in today’s society. The Internet has done more to change human society than any other invention. We can now communicate and collaborate together, while still being thousands of miles away. We can find vast caches of information and data at our fingertips in only a matter of seconds.
The Internet has also created new problems for digital content creators, including authors and photographers. Pictures have become one of the most stolen items on the Internet, leaving the photographer with a legal headache. If the photographer has not properly copyrighted their photographs, there may be no legal means to collect money due or to force the thief to stop using the photos without your permission.
Many photographers post their pictures online with pride. They want to show off their best shots and promote their abilities to potential clients. They splash a copyright symbol in the corner and put their name on the photo, believing they are protected. In most cases, they are not.
In order for a copyright on photographs to be enforceable, the copyright must be filed with the Library of Congress. The image itself must also be registered with the Library of Congress. The filing must occur before the photograph is noticed stolen, else the ability to seek restitution can be limited.
A watermark placed across the photo posted on the Internet may deter some thieves. These watermarks can be placed on the photo to show your name or that it is a sample, discouraging some thieves from taking that photograph. Many stock photo websites use watermarks to show where the photo came from, making it easier to find thieves.
There are now companies which will help monitor the Internet for your photos, helping to track stolen works. These companies will provide a unique identification code that is embedded into the image. These ID codes are hidden in the digital code of the photo and not visible to the user, but show up on a search for that code.
These companies monitor for your photographs and alert you to websites and IP addresses where your photograph has been used. You can then compare these uses to your records of paid clients to determine if theft has occurred. These services will also help with the copyright process with the Library of Congress, for a small added fee.
James is a content creator for a variety of websites. He depends on a portable 4G Internet connection so he can take his work anywhere.
Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America. His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City. Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe. Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Have a story that needs to reach national media? Email him today.
In addition to being photo editor for the Internet’s largest collection of Travel Articles, Outbounding, he is also the lead photographer for BuenosTours, the specialists in private walking tours of Buenos Aires
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