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Copyright Registration Workflow For Real Estate Photographers

Published: 12/10/2016
By: larry

CopyrightWorkflowI got a question from Brandon on copyright workflow:

I can't find anything definitive in either the Flickr group or on the website/blog. Is there a general consensus (or at least a fairly reliable source) on the current exact recommended procedure for "bulk-registering" image copyrights? For example, registering four times per year as groups of "published" images, to ensure full protection and the ability to seek statutory damages for infringement? I've searched the Flickr group but have found lots of conflicting information and vague descriptions of the exact "how" of the process.

Some people seem to say that you throw low-res JPEGs into folders based on the date they were "published" (which, to me, seems to be the date I made them available to my client for download) and then compile them all into a ZIP file to upload to the US Copyright Office website. The last registration I did, which was accepted by the US copyright office, was for a single notable property where I created a PDF with medium-resolution images, one per page with no margins. I just uploaded the PDF as part of the upload deposit. Is there a current "validated" workflow for high-volume content creators such as real estate photographers?

I've also seen a Lightroom plugin called ImageRights which, for a fee, seems to allow you to track registration status and group images together in a compliant way. Have you heard success stories of people who feel it's worth the additional expense to use this for registration?

I think for anyone that wants to be diligent about copyright Christopher Reed's book, Copyright Workflow for Photographers: Protecting, Managing, and Sharing Digital Images is the best place to start. This book covers all aspects of the copyright registration process from planning, online registration, and monitoring and enforcement. And since Christopher is a lawyer and photographer the workflow Christopher describes is authoritative and verified. A summary of the book is on



One comment on “Copyright Registration Workflow For Real Estate Photographers”

  1. Brandon, Search YouTube for Ed Greenburg and Jack Reznicki's copyright presentation shot at BH photo. There are two and they are slightly different. They also have a presentation on Kelby One. You can also visit and there may be links there. The tutorial on Kelby One includes a complete walk through as Jack registers a batch of unpublished images. They don't cover registering published images, but you want to do a batch of unpublished images first. After you have done that, it's best to contact the Copyright office as they don't allow large bulk registrations of published images if you haven't registered much before. It not difficult, just tedious.

    The process takes some time the first go around, but once you have made your account, all of your information can be filled in with just a click the next time.

    I haven't seen any need to pay anybody to handle it for me. It's not hard once you know how to do it and the online tutorials are good. If you find any tutorial that mentions doing a registration other than online, it's old and you should skip it as the information is badly out of date. You can register by mail, but it can take a year or more to get your certificate back and you can't file with the court until you have the certificate. Your attorney is also unlikely to take your case on contingency. They know that if they forward a copy of the official certificate to an infringer's attorney, that's all it takes to get to discussing compensation.

    Preparing your "deposit", copies of the images you are registering, is dead simple in LR. I have a preset that takes every image, creates a small .jpg and puts it in my Copyright Registration folder. I don't pick and choose. Every image gets registered. You have 90 days to register published images for full protection. I register my journalism images more frequently and very special images before I release them to anybody. My photos of Virgin Galactic's Space Ship Two accident were registered before I even started looking through them and sending out selections to AP and Reuters. Save your money for your registration fees and take a couple of hours to learn how to do it yourself.

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