When your work is created, I have read, it is "automatically protected". Hey, all you'd have to do is show 'em your computer.
However, if you have to go to court to protect your work, you need to have that legal foot to stand on, so you want to copyright your work.
So, uh...say what? My work is automatically protected...except it's not?
So, which do you think is the better way to go? For $35.00 for countless image submission, I'm going with copyrighting.
But it doesn't stop there. We have some work to do, but we want to make sure that there's not so much work to do that we get overwhelmed and frustrated.
The big starting point is the website. How do you protect the images that you are putting on your website? There are several ways: (1) You can watermark your images; (2) you can put the copyright symbol and your business name on each page of the website; (3) you can make the 72dpi / 300-500 pixel versions of your images for your website, which makes them impossible to blow up if they are copied from your site. Fascinating.
Watermarking is seen as visually intrusive by some, but I have come down on the side - at least for now - of those who say that without the watermark, people who come across your work online won't know where to find you. I know that I have wanted to find an artist of a particularly tasty piece of work, but have been unable to do so. Frustrating.
Yes, watermarks are easy enough to get rid of by someone who knows photoshop, but not everyone will. And I want my work to be out in the world, generating buzz, as long as I know I can protect its unlawful use.
You have the following decisions to make, and actions to take:
(1) Either to watermark your work, or copyright your website images by putting copyright verbiage and markings at the bottom of each page. Or both!
(2) Create a folder just for website versions of your art - 72 dpi (dots per inch), and 300-500 pixels - so that you don't get confused in the future and submit a 72 dpi version of art to a client who asks for hi-res images.
(3) Create a naming convention for those low-res versions of your art. One possibility is a hyphen and the number 72 at the end so that you know that that image is the low res version.
(4) Save those 72 dpi / 300-500 pixel versions of the artwork that is going to be on your website (and that you are going to submit to people who are considering using your artwork).
(5) Watermark or put your website name on the image somewhere so that people can find you - or don't!
These are choices that each person has to make for her or himself, and it is based on how you feel about risk. There is, ultimately, no right answer that will keep you 100% safe, but if you do your due diligence, and make your choices, then whatever comes next will be something you can handle, because you will be empowered with knowledge.
And this is very important: While you create security for yourself in these important ways, don't forget to balance the usage of your time so that you do the art that you love to do.
All organization and no art makes Jill a dull girl.
I'm getting closer to doing my first submissions, because I'm getting so close to being done with putting together my first copyright submission!
So much to learn, and all of it fascinating.
See you on the web!