Sharing safely

Earlier this year the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) launched a campaign called Registration Counts. The goal is to educate photographers about copyright and how registration is really the key to protecting those rights.



Screen shot of the ASMP website focusing on registration counts

Screen shot of the ASMP website focusing on registration counts

I am a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and a few years back they had a new column about registering your unpublished work with the copyright office. While the website that the government offers is adequate, it leaves a lot to be desired. Do it a few times and it is no big deal. Wondering if you did it right causes the most pause. With the push from the ASMP Registration Counts campaign, I registered all of my published photographs using Form VA. A few friendly emails to Jack Reznicki to nail down my open questions and I was motivated to correct my current state of affairs. I found Jack reading the NAPP publication, but you can find him in many places. He is a real copyright advocate as you can experience in his Copyright and Copywrong presentation.

If I were a commercial photographer, registering the copyright as part of a shoot would really be an obvious thing. Since I currently do not have a steady cash flow from my personal work, I wait to register with the copyright office – yes I am being cheap! Some people register every quarter and this year I plan to register twice.

Working for a large enterprise and actively engaged in the creation of protection of intellectual property has hindered my photography. Read enough about copyright registration and the world becomes a great big mess. The images you upload and share publicly using a site like Flickr are considered published. Having learned this and taken some action to remedy, I now vow to register prior to publication, which means more frequently. I need this process to be constant enough that I am freed to share my work while still having protection.

Some argue that if you are not currently making money with your work, that sharing it is more important than protecting it. Despite my experience, that it has stifled my recent expression, it does not have to. If you plan ahead you get all of the freedom and protection. Register before you publish.

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2 Responses

  1. Knelson says:

    Thank you so much for the information, I have truly enjoyed reading your blog. It has helped me on my hybrid workflow tremendously.

  2. Brian Goodman says:

    Thank you for the feedback. Your words are very encouraging. It is always interesting to find people that share similar interests.

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