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  • Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my photos

    I have 70 years old photo negatives. I make prints and sell them. I do not want other people to copy my prints and sell them. Is copyrighting expensive? Is it worth the time and trouble? Can I affix a copyright symbol to my images even though they have not been registered? If they have a copyright symbol, even though they have not been registered, does it offer any legal protection?

  • #2
    Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

    http://www.copyright.gov/ is the website to find information and file online copyright information.
    Hello here is the copyright info. You can send in all the photographs you have to the US copyright office for $65 or you can do it online for $35. Yes you can affix a copyright symbol without a copyright. The current copyright law states that the person that takes the picture owns the copyright. You don't have to register but if you want to prove ownership and pursue legal action a copyright is essential. Also if you sue you will get your attorney fees back. BUT you must have all your ducks in a row like a proof of income from photography and the photo registered as having a copyright.

    The ways to prevent people using your photos other than copyright laws are: file size reduction to 100 kb maximum, install metadata into the file which may be done with certain cameras, and posting the copyright symbol, your name or business name, and the year that the photo was taken. I hope this was helpful.

    Mark

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    • #3
      Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

      I did not take these photos. I do have the negatives though. But even if I did not take the photos, when I convert them into a digital file, does this not make them an original work? I have not found any info on the web regarding the scanning of old images to make them an original work.

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      • #4
        Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

        I meant to say a copyright isn't expensive. The reason the copyright symbol, name, and year is good because if the person tries to remove it you can go after them for damages whether you have a copyright or not. Despite misconceptions in the US most copyright infractions never go to court but are settle outside of court.

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        • #5
          Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

          If you aren't the photographer, you can't own the copyright (unless the photographer legally transfers it to you). Scanning doesn't affect this. If the images are so old they've fallen into public domain, you can use them, but can't copyright them.
          Learn by teaching
          Take responsibility for learning

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          • #6
            Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

            Originally posted by darylbubba View Post
            I did not take these photos. I do have the negatives though. But even if I did not take the photos, when I convert them into a digital file, does this not make them an original work? I have not found any info on the web regarding the scanning of old images to make them an original work.
            A scan made from a slide or negative is not an original work, it is a reproduction of the original. If you have legal title to the slides, then you are the copyright holder. As Sirduke has written, placing a signature, logo, or name somewhere on your prints will discourage unauthorized reproduction and make thing easier if you ever need to take action against a violator. Placing text on the back of the prints stating that any reproduction is prohibit will also help. As long as you hold title to the original scans I do not think that formal registration is necessary. Demonstrating that you have made reasonable efforts to display on the works, ownership and prohibited reproduction will likely go further in a legal action than actually registering the work.

            Regards, Murray

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            • #7
              Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

              Thanks for all your help.
              I will put my notice on my prints and be satisfied that processing labs will not touch them. The reason I brought this up is that I just sold a historic image to a guy. I then found an article about him that said that he collects historic images and has been known to make copies for people. What the...
              Time to start being careful.

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              • #8
                I didn't see the September entry by darylbubba.

                Hello Darylbubba,

                I have to agree with Doug Nelson. The person that takes the photograph owns the copyright. Please don't take the images and call them as your own. Thanks.

                Best Regards,

                Mark

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                • #9
                  Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                  Originally posted by darylbubba View Post
                  Thanks for all your help.
                  I will put my notice on my prints and be satisfied that processing labs will not touch them. The reason I brought this up is that I just sold a historic image to a guy. I then found an article about him that said that he collects historic images and has been known to make copies for people. What the...
                  Time to start being careful.

                  Oh my.... you're so on the wrong here....

                  IF people copy and sell them, they would be doing exactly the same as you.

                  How is that wrong in your opinion?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                    I will agree that legally they are not in the wrong. I am not saying that I would prosecute them for copying my images, since I could not. I am saying that I wish to discourage them.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                      Originally posted by mistermonday View Post
                      A scan made from a slide or negative is not an original work, it is a reproduction of the original. If you have legal title to the slides, then you are the copyright holder. As Sirduke has written, placing a signature, logo, or name somewhere on your prints will discourage unauthorized reproduction and make thing easier if you ever need to take action against a violator. Placing text on the back of the prints stating that any reproduction is prohibit will also help. As long as you hold title to the original scans I do not think that formal registration is necessary. Demonstrating that you have made reasonable efforts to display on the works, ownership and prohibited reproduction will likely go further in a legal action than actually registering the work.

                      Regards, Murray

                      Sorry, I have to disagree with the advice Murray. Ownership of the slides or negatives does NOT mean that you hold the copyright. Otherwise, I could freely take ownership of a top selling movie copyright simply by buying it on film. It is the creator of the image that owns the copyright unless s/he specifically sells or gives up that copyright. The media, whether print, negative, photo, illustration, or digital - is irrelevant.

                      In my opinion, if this person did not create the images, and is not significantly altering the image but is simply reproducing them for profit, then it IS a copyright violation. Granted, many people use famous images of celebrities or locations (Beatles, Elvis, Stonehenge, etc.) - they are technically breaking the law, but the owners of those copyrights, for whatever reason, have not chosen to pursue their rights.

                      I would also discourage him from putting any copyright or other "disincentive to copy" on them. If the real copyright owner discovers the violation, they will be entitled to compensation. If deception can be proven, it becomes a felony issue and the penalty would be much more severe.

                      My advice is to speak with a copyright attorney and get the facts. If you insist on continuing to use the images, then I would keep my head down and my mouth shut and keep out of trouble. My second piece of advice would be to find a way to artistically render the images in a unique style, then trademarking your style. You should also consider researching exactly who does own the copyright, and getting permission.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                        TEastman, if Daryl has legal title to the slides meaning the creator or legal copyright owner has signed over the originals as well as the rights to reproduce and sell and any other usage rights that were included in an agreement or a will, then Daryl can use them in any way he chooses.
                        I may be missing something here but in the original post Daryl was asking advice protecting his rights. He never said that he did not legally own the slides and the rights to reproduce and sell prints. Some folks here are automatically assuming that Daryl is illegally copying slides to which he does not own the copyright.
                        Why have some members assumed that Daryl does not hold the the copyright?
                        Regards, Murray

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                          >Why have some members assumed that Daryl does not hold the the copyright?
                          People always look for the worst in people. It makes a better story.

                          First of all, there is no reason to think that there is a registered copyright. There may be but there also may not be.
                          Second, it was mentioned that the copyright holder would need to turn over or give up their copyright. Well, in my book when an item is disgarded into a trash can on the curb of the road for garbage collection, that makes the item legally disgarded refuse, just the same as any other trash. Any person can claim the item.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                            Originally posted by darylbubba View Post
                            Thanks for all your help.
                            I will put my notice on my prints and be satisfied that processing labs will not touch them. The reason I brought this up is that I just sold a historic image to a guy. I then found an article about him that said that he collects historic images and has been known to make copies for people. What the...
                            Time to start being careful.
                            You talk about this as if you feel reproduction rights belong to you. Thirty seconds on google would turn up similar situations to what you are describing. Basically you probably have no right to collect money on the reproduction of these images. Try mentioning how you actually acquired these. If you purchased them are you able to find out who the original photographer was? Copyright on the images should belong to them or their descendants assuming it wasn't signed off on at an earlier time. The lack of details you've provided makes it more difficult to determine any of this. Below is a decent example. I know there's debate over if the negatives are genuine, but the argument is that if they are, he may not own reproduction rights.


                            http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/cult...eep-them-.html

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                            • #15
                              Re: Is copyright expensive-can I fake it on my pho

                              You can claim ownership of a specific item, such as a paperback or CD you find in the trash, but not authorship (which is what copyright is for). The same goes for photos or negatives. And falsely claiming copyright (in this case to deter copying) is fraud (and I don't mean that figuratively).
                              Learn by teaching
                              Take responsibility for learning

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