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Copyright Issues

One of the most important protections you can give your work is to register your copyrights. As a general rule, unless you sign away your rights, you own the copyright of an image as soon as you click the shutter. This gives you the right to license and relicense the image. However, you do not have the fullest protection of United States law unless you register your work with the Copyright Office. Registering your work makes a big difference in the event someone infringes on your rights and you need to pursue legal remedies. The process is not difficult, nor is it expensive, and it should be just as much a part of your post-production workflow as editing, retouching, and archiving your images. As this book goes to press in 2005, it is still necessary to fill out paper forms to register your copyrights. Online copyright registration is in development. The Copyright Office plans to have a system available in 2007.

Tip

The ASMP has a step-by-step tutorial on registering copyrights, complete with annotated sample forms, at its Web site (http://www.asmp.org/copyright). It is available to members and non-members free of charge.



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