Press release issued by Copytrack:
US Copyright Office: If copyright is free, then why should we pay for photographic protection? COPYTRACK breaks it down
Copytrack knows dealing with image piracy on a global scale is tricky as copyright law is still territorial. The closest we get to a global copyright law is the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, established in 1886, which helps with photographic protection. The agreement now includes over 190 countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Australia.
The US initially had reservations of signing due to the changes it would have on their own copyright law. They finally joined the Berne Convention in 1989, but amended some of their laws so registration was required to tackle infringements in court.
Now, just like Europe in the US copyright is free and instant. You don´t need to do anything to create it. Photography protection is done this way to encourage people to keep being creative. If everything we ever made could be easily stolen we wouldn’t be so keen on making and sharing it, right?
So where does the Copyright Office come into it?
However, if that´s the case, then what´s all the fuss with registering copyright with US Copyright Office for photography protection? Costing around $35 a picture it´s really something you have to think about. But what are the actual benefits of it? Here are some listed on the office´s website:
- Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U.S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.
- If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
- Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U.S. origin.
- If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
So, these are some pretty beneficial points to registering, and it´s clear it helps with photographic protection. The fact you can only go to federal court with a registered piece of work is pretty defining. It means you really should consider registering your work, and early on too. One of the main benefits of registering is statutory damages, but what are they?
Predetermined payments established by law to compensate for certain injuries. Statutory damages are sometimes made available because it is too difficult to calculate actual damages. This is a really nice perk of the registration and the statutory damages can range from anywhere between $750 to $150,000!
Should anyone outside of Europe considering registering?
Copytrack warns photographers that just because you’re not based in the US doesn’t mean your work won´t be published there. With the internet as it is, you can never be sure where your work might end up once you shared it online.
If your work is created outside of the US it´s not mandatory to have work registered to file a lawsuit. However, when you register early statutory damages are still available.
It´s key to note, when you share an image online it could end up anywhere. It could be found in the US meaning to tackle the copyright abuse you would need to take finical risk going to court in the US.
Copytrack understands the importance of global protection and is ready to battle image theft worldwide for its users. We ensure users are kept risk free, and never bear legal costs when tackling image theft.
Our tip: Definitely consider registering your work, especially when you are working in the US. It might not be free, but you are well protected.
For additional information about registration, go to the U.S. Customs and
Border Protection website at www.cbp.gov/.
COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. The company now consists of a team of around 25 colleagues from legal, IT, to customer service, and finance. The service is offered to photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers, and includes a risk-free search of the Internet worldwide. Photos uploaded by the users are located by COPYTRACK with a hit accuracy of 98 per cent. The customers can then define if images are with or without a license, and even determine the number of subsequent fees, supported by an automatic license calculator on our portal. COPYTRACK is fully responsible for out-of-court resolutions in over 140 countries, as well as legal resolutions in the relevant areas of copyright law. If the post-licensing process has been successful, the rights holder receives up to 70 percent of the agreed sum. The search function is free of charge.