Where to put the copyright?

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Friday, December 6, 2013 

I tend to put the copyright stamp on my bird images facing away from the subject. I'd like to hear if this is what others do, or what looks best in your opinion. Or, if I have a subject in the right-hand side of the frame, I may put the copyright to the left. Here is the same image with opposite facing copyrights. Not a great image but was handy. Any preference? Does it even matter?

Blogger Mia McPherson said...

Jerry, I have placed my copyright in corners where the bird is looking and away from where they are looking. I have also placed them at the top of the frames especially if the bottom of the frame is busy with rocks or vegetation so that it stands out.

Because I have had so many images infringed I toyed with having a much larger but transparent copyright watermark but I find that it takes away from the subject/image. What I use now is enough that people ought to realize the image is copyrighted though a great many people think if it is found on a Google Image Search it is free.

I like either of the locations you used above but I think having it on the right in this frame makes the bottom of the image more balanced.

December 6, 2013 at 1:09 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Agreed! Thank you Mia, always love hearing your opinions. Infringement sucks!!!! Its just way too easy to steal stuff off the internet these days.

December 6, 2013 at 1:14 PM  
Blogger Mia McPherson said...

I agree Jerry, and I think it is important for photographers to have their watermark on the images in case they are infringed because per section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act which makes it illegal for someone to remove the watermark from a photo so that it can disguise the infringement when used. The fines start at $2,500 and go to $25,000 in addition to attorneys' fees and any damages for the infringement. (registered or not with the U.S. Copyright Office)

A Haitian photographer who had several his earthquake images infringed by major media outlets in 2008 was recently awarded 1.2 million dollars because they removed his copyright management from the images.

December 6, 2013 at 1:23 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...


December 6, 2013 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Mia McPherson said...

I should mention that the Haitian photographer registered his images with the U.S. Copyright office and the jury awarded him the maximum penalty per image which is $150,000.00. If images are not registered with the U.S Copyright Office penalties are less.

December 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Ron Dudley said...

I too like it best at lower right, Jerry - for the reason that Mia mentioned.

But this is a question that I often struggle with too and in the end I sometimes choose a spot for no particular reason.

December 7, 2013 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Thanks the way, its too cold for me to go out right now!!!!

December 7, 2013 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger Ryan O'Donnell said...

I would answer this question with a question: how obvious do you want the copyright notice to be? If the answer is something close to "as obvious as possible", then I think the better position is in front of the bird, where the eye is drawn to it by the hawk's gaze. If the answer is something like "not obtrusive, subtle but present," then the right side, behind the hawk is better: by being behind the bird, it is less obvious. My own preference is for copyright notification that is very subtle, so you almost have to look for it to see it. For that reason, I chose a font color that is a close match to the background and I intentionally "hide" the copyright in a busy part of the image. But then, our objectives are different: most of my photographs are for documentation, not for profit or even art. For me, the copyright notice is a backup in case of infringement, but not a first line of defense against a threat to my livelihood. Here is an example of my preferred subtle copyright notification; I would bet it will take a few seconds to even find it:

December 10, 2013 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Jerry Liguori said...

Hah...Ryan, that is awesome, it did take me a few seconds to find it! I'm gonna play around with my copyright more....

December 10, 2013 at 12:30 PM  

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