As a photographer, you invest time, effort, and talent in creating images for your website. Would it be fair if people used your creations without your consent or authorization?
Unfortunately, stealing photographs off the internet is a fairly common practice.
According to Copyright law, a photographer owns the images he captures. If anyone else wishes to use these images, they should obtain the owner’s consent.
However, people often use images without permission or due attribution to the owner.
So, it becomes necessary for photographers to cover all their bases and prevent such misuse. A copyright notice will help you do this by informing the public that you own all rights to your images. This will deter infringements and help you win against someone who uses your pictures without permission.
There is no legally defined format for a copyright notice. So, you can display it in your preferred way. However, it is recommended to add a short copyright message on all pages that contain:
- The symbol © or the word “Copyright”.
- The first year of publication followed by a hyphen and the last year of publication.
- The name of the copyright owner.
For example, All images © 2002-2012 Silver Photography.
Apart from adding this line to all the pages displaying images on your website, you should also include a detailed Copyright notice. It should discuss your rights as a photographer and mention what counts as a copyright violation.
Here are some copyright notice examples to help you get started. Use them to draft your own.
1. Nicole Photography
Nicole Photography explicitly mentions that their images are not licensed for public use on a dedicated page of their website. The photographer also suggests what to do if someone wishes to use their images. The description is detailed and not confusing.
2. Theodore A Stark
The Theodore A Stark website has a copyright page that lays down the criteria for personal use, web usage, and commercial use of images. The photographer mentions what the photos may and may not be used for, in simple terms. There is no scope for confusion or argument.
3. Bottle Bell Photography
The copyright notice of Bottle Bell Photography is displayed on the right side of the blog page. It is short but concise. The notice suggests that the work shouldn’t be copied, used, or reproduced in any manner without the consent of the owner.
4. James F. Harrington Saugus Photos Online
The elaborate and comprehensive copyright notice page on James F. Harrington Saugus Photos Online website suggests that the photographer is very serious when it comes to the unauthorized use of his creations. He mentions when and how interested parties can approach him for using his images. All work must be credited. Finally, the hall of shame reiterates the fact that the photographer won’t hesitate to take extreme measures, which includes calling out the infringers, should the need arise.
5. ARJ Photos
The copyright notice of ARJ Photos is neat, uncluttered, and not confusing. All relevant aspects like ownership, licenses, and permissions are listed clearly. Contact details are provided for anyone who wishes to use their images. All details are clear, and there is no scope for misunderstanding or confusion.
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6. John Rowe Photography
The copyright disclaimer page on the John Rowe Photography website has clear instructions about what users can or cannot do with their images. It is very detailed, and all relevant aspects related to copyright infringement have been addressed with due attention to detail.
7. Tom Robak
Tom Robak uses a short and crisp copyright disclaimer. It mentions that the entire website content is the property of Tom Robak. The images cannot be used in any way without explicit written consent from the owner. Purchasers of the prints are also apprised of their rights and limited ownership.
8. Silver Image Photography
The Silver Image Photography page discusses copyright regulations for the different types of images they create. Infringement criteria are discussed for prints, alteration, and reproduction of images. They also specify client usage rights for different purposes, including social media posting. Everything is crystal clear.
9. Walt Thirion
The Walt Thirion website displays an elaborate and comprehensive copyright notice statement. It is neatly structured and segregated into relevant sub-headings. So, visitors can easily access the information they require. Whether it is for commercial use, personal use, or web usage, the copyright infringement criteria are discussed. A copyright infringement warning is also provided.
10. Ken Kaminesky Photography
The Ken Kaminesky Photography copyright page first discusses all the copyright criteria applicable to the content on this website. However, the entire matter is quickly summarized at the end. It mentions that visitors should contact the copyright owner if they wish to use the content. It is a nice, honest, and right thing to do. That wraps up the entire message effectively and straightforwardly.
11. Pinner’s Photography
The legal disclaimer page on the Pinner’s Photography website includes their copyright criteria. The copyright message clearly mentions that none of the information on the website can be used, reproduced or copied without permission from the copyright owner. Although the statement is brief, the message is very clear.
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Copyright law mentions that photographers own and reserve the rights for their creations from the moment they capture it. So, you are not legally obliged to add a copyright notice to your photography website.
Nonetheless, it will not hurt to add a copyright notice to your website. It informs the public that the images on your website belong to you and reaffirms your intellectual property rights.
Your copyright notice can be as long and detailed or as short and brief as you choose. However, it should explicitly communicate the copyright criteria for your images and cause no confusion.
A copyright notice will strengthen your claim in case someone steals or uses your images without your consent. Use it to protect your business and deter people from misusing your creations by asserting your rights.