© Paul Mozell 2015
I just registered several thousand new images with the US Copyright Office and was pleased to discover that the process has been streamlined.
Although the interface is still archaic and 1990’s-looking, an announcement states that as of January 2015 they have tuned things up. A few years ago I found the online process so frustrating that I resorted to burning images onto a DVD and mailing them. Today, for a $55.00 fee you can register a nearly unlimited number of images. The system will time out after one hour but you can log in again to the same job and continue uploading.
What, you’re not registering your photographs? As I learned after reading and reviewing “The Photographers’ Survival Manual,” watermarking your images does not actually protect your photographs when you are taking legal action against an unauthorized user of your photography.
My workflow is pretty straightforward. I start in Adobe Lightroom where I identify a date range of images I want to copyright. The easiest way to do this is to make a Collection. Next, using a preset, I export the selected photographs at 72 dpi with a maximum dimension of 800 pixels, and a JPEG compression of “5”. The files just have to be large enough to be identifiable in court or an online search of the Copyright archives.
One of the changes they have made is to increase the maximum size of uploadable files to 500 meg. Using the zipping/archiving utility Stuffit I make zipped packages that each contain several hundred tiny files. I haven’t read anything stating that there is a limit to the number of files you can send, but I envision that there is a live human being somewhere at the other end who has to acknowledge receipt, decompress, and register my work. Currently, about 8 months will pass before you receive a printed certificate in the mail acknowledge your registration. If you US mail the files on a disk, it will take much longer.