Protecting your work

As soon as you create an image it is automatically protected by copyright.  However, it’s wise to register your copyright formally and take preventive measures to protect your creations.

How to register your copyright

If you work with us, register your photographs with the US Copyright Office before you submit them, even if you reside in a nation other than the United States. Once you receive your certificate, keep it for your records. Then send your registration information or copies of the certificates to The date of your copyright registration will be the date the submission is received in the US Copyright Office. It is easier for us to pursue copyright infringements in the US when copyrights are registered.

Understand derivative versus original content

Creativity comes in many forms. You may create a work from scratch, or you may find another work so inspiring that you wish to build from it. Such work is considered a “derivative work” because it is based on the work of someone else. In that case, you will need to purchase an image license for the original work to use it as a reference and you will not be able to copyright your derivative work, because it is not entirely yours.

Monitor how your images are used

The Internet is a big place, but tools exist to help you keep track of your creative works. For example, PicScout allows anyone to see who has the rights to an image found on the Web. Photographers can use PicScout to confirm that information about your creative work is up to date. Another handy tool is TinEye, a reverse image search engine that shows where images have been published on the Web.