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How To Protect Your Pictures Online

No professional photographer would put their business at risk by failing to have proper insurance cover for their expensive digital equipment, including their cameras, lenses, and laptops. What they often find more difficult to protect are the images they produce – their intellectual property (IP). There is a misconception among internet users that because photographs and other artwork are online they can be feely copied and used for their own purposes. But this constitutes an infringement of copyright. So what can you do to protect your intellectual property in the virtual world? As a an independent contractor, the following  tips might help you prevent any kind of copyright infringement and keep your photography business safe from cyber thieves.

Declare your copyright

Declare your copyright

Copyright offers protection for original work, including photography, and arises automatically. But to be able to enforce it you need proof of the date of creation of the work. The most cost effective way of producing this proof is via a statutory declaration, sworn in front of a solicitor, and which can be reused for new copyright works. Another option, for those who want to let people share and use their photographs, but not allow companies to sell them, is to use a Creative Commons license, granting the public permission to use your creative work on the conditions of your choice. 

Deter the photo snatchers

Make it clear that the photographs belong to you. Do this by simply adding your name or website to all the images you publish online. At the very least, it will remind inadvertent picture snatchers that the work is copyrighted and not just there for the taking. It’s also a good way of promoting your services.

A lot of photographers apply watermarks to their online images to deter people from trying to use them for their own purposes. Most image editing software packages include watermarking applications, and there are online video tutorials demonstrating how to apply them. Watermarks can also make it easier to track down any copyright infringements.

Dealing with infringement

In the event that your copyright has been infringed, you need to assert your rights, contact the person direct, and demand an explanation, but keep it simple and non-confrontational. It could be they have no idea that they’ve done anything wrong and will want to resolve the situation quickly. If the direct approach fails, try contacting the web hosting company and informing them of the copyright infringement and asking for their help in getting the image removed. 

Take legal advice

As a last resort you can take legal action, or at least threaten to, as this may lead to an offer to settle the issue. It may be worth investing in some legal advice, without escalating the situation to an actual lawsuit. Having a sound grasp of your rights around copyright and protection of your IP help you to achieve the best possible result for yourself.

These few tips should help you to better protect your pictures online by preventing the most common tricks that robbers could use to snatch your property. 

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