how can i get a copyright for a photo/pic i took?

how can i get a copyright for a photo/pic i took?

Best Answer

Your photo is already copyrighted, if you are in the US. Copyright occurs upon creation of the item. However, to legally copyright it you will need to fill out the documents and file them with the Library of Congress. It takes about 6 months to complete. Your item is copyrighted without filing the documents, but if you should ever need to defend that copyright, it needs to be registered with the government BEFORE your find the infringement. You can still file it after, but you will lose some of the benefits of copyright, like having the infringer pay your legal fees.

Legally registering a copyright is really only necessary if you think you might legally go after someone who violates the copyright. It's a very expensive thing to do.

To file go to For a photo you would probably want the Visual Art Form. The current fee is $45.

It costs around $30, and you have some forms to fill out. You can find them here:

A cheap easy way to copyright something and legally binding is to photocopy what you created and place it in an envelope of relevant size (doesn't work very well for something very big) and mail it to yourself leaving the envelope sealed preserving the postmark. Things you learn as a "starving" artist.

You can do this at the US Copyright Office – see the last 2 links in the source box. The application is fairly simple & the cost is $45 per application.

Despite what others state, a "poor man's" copyright is NOT the same as registering it. Here's what the US Copyright Office has to say:

"The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a “poor man’s copyright.” There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration."

Hope that helps! I wish you much success & happiness in all your ventures!

Anything you create has a copyright in your name. You are not protected by the government until you fill out their forms and send them a copy of the work. I believe its $30. you can go to for all the information.

its already copyrighted but you can write your name on the bottom or personalize it somehow so other people cant say they took the picture

All of the previous answers are correct. However, one thing I would add is that if your image is digital - or you have scanned it so that you can sell it on line, you should consider placing an electronic copyright in the file.

I'm sure there are several programs that allow you to do this, but I have used one from Digimarc. It's embedded in the photo file, and you can alter the setting so that it's either invisible, or plainly shown over the top of the image as sort of a pre-sale proof. Digimarc also has a service where you can track an image after you have embedded the copyright in it. That way if you sell it to someone, you have the ability to see if they have used it more than your agreement allows, or if someone has pirated it.

Good luck!

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