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With ImageRights, You Can Now Legally Copyright Your Photos Directly Out of Lightroom

Published: 30/10/2015
By: larry

copyrightAndy on the Big Island pointed out this article at that explains that now has a Lightroom plugin that allows you to submit images for Copyright directly to the US Copyright offices right out of Lightroom. is a legal service that helps photographers protect and defend their copyright.

The video to the right is an interview with Joe Naylor the co-founder and CEO of, and photographers Rob Grimm and Peter Coulson discussing today's climate of copyright.

This service is probably not for everyone, but if  you are struggling to get done everything that's needed to defend the copyright of your images ImageRights many be of help.

6 comments on “With ImageRights, You Can Now Legally Copyright Your Photos Directly Out of Lightroom”

  1. Interesting.
    Do you still have to pay a fee?
    I know I did when I had five images copyrighted through the government website a couple years back.

  2. @Russell - Yes, of course you still pay the fee. You also have to have a membership with, the Lightroom plugin is probably an inducement to get a membership which is a legal service that searches for infringers and helps you pursue the infringer if it is possible. It's kind of like hiring a lawyer up front to find and prosecute infringers. That's why I say it's not for the casual photographer, but if you have a lot of images on the net and people are stealing them, purchasing this service is no different than hiring a lawyer.

  3. Thanks Larry.
    I would have liked to have had something like this available when the "Ellen Show" & a local news station used my (copyrighted) images without my permission.
    I was unable to find a lawyer to do it on contingency and didn't have the money to retain one, so I ended up letting both off with a license use fee only.

  4. One of the most important things for an artist or any other person who makes a living off of intellectual property is the protection of that property. The government has a copyright program specifically to help us protect the rights. By creating a government copyright, chances of winning a case in course or settling with an abuser with threat of court is much higher than when an official copyright is not registered. Online registration is very easy. The government site has instructions, or for better understanding of the laws and processes and what you are protected from - I suggest joining a professional association such as The American Society of Media Professionals ( or Professional Photographers of America ( Both organizations have extensive information and tutorials on their websites for copyright along with releases, insurance information, indeminity programs, education programs, etc. And you have the added benefit of being in a supportive community of other professionals.

    That being said, I am not a believer in copyrighting real estate photography images used for the MLSs - this is just my opinion and not a hard fact. However, should you be fortunate enough to shoot for a Home and Gardens magazine, the Wall Street Journal Mansion Section or other prestigious publication or website - or if you find yourself fortuante enough to enter a contest - these images should be copyrighted as they have a higher value and a better chance at being copied as they are viewed by a larger audience and usually have a composition or subject matter of high value.

    Once you decide to copyright, there are several options to protect that copyright. We have a dear friend who is a Canon Explorer of Light (Canon's special category of contracted photographers to represent the Canon line of Cameras). His images sell in the thousands and are out there on stock sites where they can be purchased for commercial use. For him, it is important to use a product like Digimarc Guardian ( which allows protected content to be found easily. There are several levels of the product and the can get quite expensive so you need to determine from their site, which product meets your needs. Digimarc works as a plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom. With Digimarc you will have to register your own images with the government after the digimarc has been implanted into the image.

    Once you use a product like Digimarc - you can track your images and web usage of that image. Disclosure - I do not sell or gain any money from recommending this product, nor do I take any responsibility for the accuracy of what this product states or its results. We use Digimarc on our higher value architectural shoots and our stock photography we sell through our 4 photo agents.

    Image Rights is similar to Digimarc except it is run by a lawfirm and as such, they are seling intellectual property legal services. There is nothing wrong with this and it is an alternative solution to Digimarc. The point is - if you feel that a $150-$300 photo shoot is worth the effort, then definitely copyright and subscribe to one of these services.

    Hopefully this has given you some additional information regarding the topic of the blog. Please note that I am a real estate photography coach and am registered on this blogsite as such. If you need further help with this topic or any other real estate photography issue as it relates to the business experience (there are plenty of people who do technical shooting and processing tutorials and coaching) I would be happy to help you and you may contact me through Larry Lohrman's site.

  5. Registering your images with the Copyright office is not very hard. Jack Rezniki and Ed Greenberg have tutorials/classes with KelbyOne and on YouTube filmed at BHphotovideo.

    Registration is $55 per registration which can be for thousands of pictures. There is a difference between doing published and unpublished work. You have 3 months to register your published work for full protection so you don't have to register the images from each job as you do them.

    Finding an image being infringed on the web is like finding a particular drop of water in the Pacific Ocean. Any service that claims they will find infringements for you is spinning a tale. I find my stuff all of the time. Nearly all of the time if it's RE work it has been syndicated through an MLS to various consumer real estate web sites such as Trulia and I'm fine with that if the photo is being used to advertise the property. Some of my photojournalism work is licensed out through Reuters and AP. In both cases, it would be a waste of money to pay somebody to return these hits. I am pursuing some infringers right now, but it's from news images I took last year of an accident. I knew those were going to get ripped off and I search those frequently.

    If you don't register your images, you don't have much recourse if you find infringements. You can send a letter to the MLS and have it taken down, but if they don't, there isn't much else you can do. As most photographers don't register their images, companies getting bills or C&D letters can fairly safely ignore them. They will only take notice if the demand letter comes from an attorney who isn't going to be able to do much without the registration other than write the demand letter.

  6. The link above is for the latest presentation Ed and Jack have done at BHPhoto. If you search for the other presentations on YouTube, you should be able to find an earlier one that walks through the registration process step by step. Once I have my photos zipped up and ready to upload, it only takes me about 7 or 8 minutes to register a new batch.

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