|Protecting your images
By Robert P. Mitts
As we continue to move onward into the 21st Century we must acknowledge how important fire photographers are to the fire service industry. The need for quality fire photographs far exceed the normal task of being published in a fire service related magazine or publication. Thanks to the Internet and theWorld Wide Web thousands of web sites are being created every day.
Companies that cater to the fire service industry often create their own company web sites that can be linked with their advertisements in major publications they deal with. Did you ever wonder where those images come from?
Over the past 6 months I have had 3 different photos used by major companies in their advertisements. In each case I did not submit nor authorize any use of my photos. So how did they obtain my photo? The photos were presented to their respected advertising and marketing people after the photos were lifted from the web and various email newsgroups. Taking and using these photos without permission is not allowed and will not be tolerated. That is a direct violation of the copyright law. And for the record, all 3 companies paid a substantial fee for using my copyrighted photos. It is a good idea to have subscriptions to all fire related publications as your photos may pop up anywhere. If you don't stay on top of things, your photo may have been used and you will never know.
How do we protect our images? Their are several steps you can take to deter people from using your images without your permission. First and foremost get yourself a personalized rubber stamp that says your name and phone number and the term copyright photo. You can purchase many types of these stamps at any printing stores. For those of you that display your work on a web page you may want to consider the following. Install a java script program that disables the right click function so visitors will not be able to save imagesfrom your site. Copy and paste the following code into your html editor:
After scanning your images make sure to include Copyright YOUR NAME © on each photo. Watermarking your image is a great way to stay on top of your photos.
On each page of your web site
make sure the bottom of your site has the
The serious photographer may want to go above and beyond the call of duty. Registering your images with the United States Copyright Office is probably the best way to protect and show proof of your images. For additional information about the Copyright Law, you may visit the official web site of the United States Copyright Office at: www.loc.gov/copyright. Their mailing address is Library of Congress, 101 Independence Avenue, South East, Washington, D.C. 20559-6000.
Finally, it wouldn't hurt to put a small disclaimer somewhere on your site that clearly states all of your work and the images featured on your site are "copyrighted and are not to be used without the written permission of the photographer. For additional information on my photos please contact me at YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS".
Keep in mind the tips discussed here are not full proof. If someone wants to STEAL your image they will. You can only do so much to deter people from lifting your image but by using the steps we have discussed, it will be much easier for you to collect from the person or persons who infringe on your copyright.
About the author: