Copyrighting Photos

thatcrazyplantladyOctober 14, 2010

Some Ebay sellers have been stealing photos I post on the web. These photos were taken by me in my own gardens of my own plants. They didn't get permission to use them and since I don't have an ebay auction with those plants and photos, ebay won't do anything about it.

How do I copyright my photos? I have Infranview, The Print Shop 22, Photoscape, and MGI Photosuite III, but I'm finding it difficult to add text to the photos so that it looks right.

Is there a free, easy-to-use photo program that watermarks photos? I don't want bright text, but rather a subtle watermark that doesn't obscure the photo, but makes it obvious that the photo is mine.

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First of all, you must read the membership account agreements very closely. Per their rules, on many sites the mere act of posting a photo places it in "Public Domain".

As a rule I watermark all my photos before printing them or posting them online, even if I only intend to put the photo in my personal album.

While on the subject of Personal Albums, whenever I take a series of shots at some point of interest I generally select one shot which is the title page for the grouping. I then add a title that indicates where the photo and/or group of photos was taken, and quite often I add captions.

By example, I am attaching a photo of me that was actually taken by my GF while she and I were on an outing to a local wild game farm.

I use PHOTOSCAPE, a free download from Google to add the text.

While PHOTOSCAPE is primarily a very powerful, user friendly photo editing program I find adding text to be almost a no-brainer.

To add text you open the photo in the editor, click the button for "Objects" and a box will appear where you type in the text you want to add, then you select the type of font and the color of the font.

There is a box there to select the font size, but i generally ignore that because as you type the font it will show up in the center of your print outlined by a dotted line box with little arrows on the corners. If you click and drag the arrows you can drag the text to whatever size you want on the print.

You then click and drag the text box to where you want to place it, and you can even rotate the text 360 degrees for special effect or to slightly slant your watermark.

To get Photoscape just put the name photoscape in the search bar on your web browser home page and it will refer you to a free download site.

I might add that even though this is a free download, it is a full lifetime version, not one of those annoying trials with the incessant pop ups reminding you to buy the program. In fact, it is entirely free of spam or popups, period. The only thing I would caution is, make sure you are getting the download directly from Google as others may use it to entice you to sign up for their pop up & spam nonsense.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 4:55PM
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Back in the early 1960's when I first got into photography I read a very informative book called "Photography and the Law"

In that book they outlined how to get what is known as a "Common Law Copyright", which is primarily intended to provide copyright protection until one can obtain a full copyright but it has primarily the same basic protections as a full registered copyright.

Recently I discussed this with my attorney and he informs me that it still stands today, but with digital there are a couple minor changes.

To produce a "Common Law Copyright" of any text or document you begin by making 3 exact copies. You then enclose two copies in separate envelopes and mail them to yourself via registered U.S. Mail-return receipt requested.

You then file all three copies, making sure the seal is not broken on the copies you mailed.

In the even that a dispute arises you can produce the open copy to file a complaint in court. The two sealed copies are then brought into the court and introduced as evidence.
The court can examine the sealed envelopes along with the U.S. Postal seal & stamp cancellation to confirm the date the envelopes were mailed and the can then open the envelopes in the court to confirm that you had the original documents on or before the date of mailing.

My attorney suggested that if one is attempting a common law copyright today you should also print the EXIF data on the print to confirm not only the date & time, but the actual camera and frame number for each print. It would also be advisable to include a CD such as you suggest, but be sure it is also recording the EXIF data for each print.

I would strongly suggest you consult an attorney to see if this method would stand in court in your jurisdiction.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:03PM
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I used to use Irfanview, but I only added simple text similar to lazypup's.

With photoshop I add embossed watermarks like this sample one:

The degree of embossing can be changed as needed to make the mark more or less pronounced. I just did a quick sample for the above photo.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 11:19PM
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I've been using Photoscape and Infranview but I don't like the text across the pictures. Mongoct, I like the watermarking you do. That's really what I want to do. It's visible without being obtrusive. And I can have it run across the entire photo without obscuring the photo too much.

I don't have photoshop but I'm sure I could buy it on Ebay. I wonder if Printshop has that capability. I'll check it out before I buy another software.

Thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 5:15PM
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