by Matthew Neve Published 01/10/2010
In the event of a copyright case going to court you must be able to prove the work is yours. Unfortunately this is not too simple, but by following these steps you can help prove this:
1) Place a watermark of some kind and a copyright notice: © Copyright 2010. Photographer's name/company All Rights Reserved on all their photos before they are released to the public domain. This will offer some protection.
2) Should photos be discovered in use without the photographer's consent, it could become a problem in proving you took the photograph and that the copyright belongs to you. You should keep the image(s) stored on a hard drive with the date and time it was loaded, but dates and times can be changed in the metadata so is not infallible proof.
3) Keep the various stages of work you went through with each image. This would demonstrate in a court the various steps taken to enhance an image and this would prove invaluable in a court of law.
Prevention is better than cure
If you upload images to the internet, keep the images as small as practicable, eg 600 pixels on the longest side. This would prevent any reasonable quality being stolen and printed (although you would: a) be surprised by the quality some people will put up with and b) they might be nicking them for web use.
Use software such as digimarc in Photoshop which allows you to add a hidden copyright label that can only be read by the digimarc software. The website http://www.digimarc.com describes the software and also provides a 'best practice' guide.
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