You as the creator of your images hold the sole copyright to them. But what happens when someone is using your photos without your permission?
You can take a copyright infringement to trial; however, there are a few steps to consider before you do so and a solution that won’t cost you a single penny out of your own pocket.
What is copyright infringement?
According to the US Copyright Office, “copyright infringement occurs when a copyrighted work is reproduced, distributed, performed, publicly displayed, or made into a derivative work without the permission of the copyright owner.” You as the photographer hold the copyright to your images from the day they were created until 70 years from the day you died.
How can I as a photographer fight copyright infringement?
Besides avoiding copyright infringements in the first place through watermarks, Creative Commons licenses, and website code, you can also register your creative works with the US Copyright Office. Registration will protect your and your clients’ interests, protect published and unpublished work in the US as well as in countries with which the US has copyright agreements.
At the US Copyright Office, you can file electronically for $35 – $55 or on paper for $85 (application fee) plus $55 for registering up to 750 images. The electronic process can take up to 3 months and the non-electronic route up to a year.
Why should you register with the US Copyright Office?
They explain it best on their website: “Registration is recommended for a number of reasons. Many choose to register their works because they wish to have the facts of their copyright on the public record and have a certificate of registration. Registered works may be eligible for statutory damages and attorney’s fees in successful litigation. Finally, if registration occurs within five years of publication, it is considered prima facie evidence in a court of law.“
In other words, if you want to sue someone for copyright infringement, your work must be officially registered. Registration should occur within three months of publication, the latest within 5 years of publication, and before the infringement happened, so you can cash in on these statutory damages and attorney’s fees if you decide on going to trial. In case your images have been used online without your permission, the DMCA provides an exception with which you may still be able to recover legal costs.
If you can prove that someone illegally violated the copyright of one of your images, the person will have to pay you any amount between $200 and $150,000 dollars for each image infringed. He/she will also pay all court and attorney fees and may even go to jail. You as the rightful owner of the image may have to pay up to $3,000 for a threat letter while a following trial may result in a six figure amount. However, LAPIXA offers a solution with which you don’t have to pay a single penny out of your own pocket.
How can LAPIXA help me as a photographer to fight copyright infringement?
If you want to find out if one or more of your images have been used – or even sold – by someone without your permission, LAPIXA can help you.
Simply upload your photos to our website and our search algorithms will let you know where your images appear on the web, even if they have been edited, cropped, or otherwise altered. Once we noticed a copyright infringement, you can decide whether or not you want us to take over from here and enforce your image rights.
From here on out, your work is done and we take care of the rest. Thanks to our international team of lawyers and our helpful staff, we at LAPIXA are committed to getting you the money you deserve from people who are unlawfully using your images.
What are you waiting for? Start here by uploading your pictures and see if they’ve been used without your permission, so we can get you the cash you deserve!