Have you ever wondered how to protect your online digital photos?

You may be surprised to learn that all creative expression is protected by copyright immediately upon being created. A genuine copyright exists on your work from the moment you create it, whether it is text, painting, sculpture, craft or photography.  In the US almost all original non-commercial work created after 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a © notice or not.

Stunning or critical photographs can easily earn plenty of money or even a Pulitzer if properly marketed and copyrighted. Imagine if someone lifts a beautiful newly posted unprotected digital image and registers it as his own, re-posts it and later becomes viral. These days, photographs share the same fate as music, books and movies when uploaded to the internet without copyright protection. Unfortunately it can be expensive and time consuming to prove that you are, in fact, the creator and original owner of the work. So how can you make copying your photos more difficult?

Example of watermarked photo

Copyright © DaHoTra Consulting 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without DaHoTra Consulting’s express consent

This article will tell you several ways to make sure your online photos and digital art are protected.

First of all, you should always put your copyright notice on or beside each of your images. A formal copyright notice includes three parts and may be used without registering your images with the U.S. Copyright Office.

  1. The word “Copyright,” or its abbreviation, “Copr. or the letter © in a circle;
  2. The year of the first publication
  3. The name of the copyright owner.

Example of a simple copyright notice:

Copyright © DaHoTra Consulting 2013 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without DaHoTra Consulting’s express consent. Back links are allowed.

In addition to your copyright notice, you should also consider watermarking your photos. Most digital thieves are lazy and this will help deter most theft because watermarks are too time consuming to remove.

There are plenty of tools to add watermarks to your posted images. If you are looking for the easiest and most effective way to watermark your photos, check out any of these:

The highest level of protection is by registering your photo.

The United States Copyright Office accepts electronic registration of images through their eCO system (Electronic Copyright Office).  Electronic registration includes several major benefits:

– Lower filing fee of $35
– Faster processing times
– Online status tracking
– Secure online payment
– Online upload of images
– Available 24 hours a day

The United States Copyright Office has prepared a guide for completing your electronic copyright registration. The tutorial can be found on this link,


The bottom line is, registration makes it much easier to sue somebody for using your image, or a part of it without permission. Photography is a career. Photography is work. Photography is a way of life and a means of living so protection is very important.


Disclaimer: Content in this article is informational only. For complete, accurate and up-to-date information, or if you seek legal advice, contact an attorney.