Did You Publish Photographs in 2023?

As the year draws to a close, we want to remind photographers in particular about group registration of published photographs. Ideally, your work is best protected when it’s registered with the Copyright Office before it leaves the studio. But deadlines and schedules being what they are, we know that registration often slips through the cracks.

Fortunately, a work can be registered at any time during the term of its protection under copyright, which is your lifetime plus 70 years.[1] Additionally, photographers have a unique advantage because photographs can be registered in groups of up to 750 images per application. This is true whether the photos are published or unpublished, but there are two limitations to keep in mind.

First, no mixing. A group photo registration application must contain all published OR all unpublished images. Second, a group of published photos is restricted to images that were first published in the same calendar year.  That’s why we wanted to reach out at this time.

To be clear, you are allowed to register 2023 published photos next year, or at another time in the future. But we’ve met more than a few photographers who’ve let the backlog pile up and then try to remember When was that photo was first published? And we get it. The organization process of sorting through backlog is more work than registration—especially if you register through RightsClick, which is so easy.

Finally, we want to remind photographers that published work is likely to be most vulnerable to copyright infringement. And registration is the only path to the full range of remedies — from settlement to litigation.

[1] U.S. law.

Unsure about the meaning of “Publication”? You’re not alone. Learn more here

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