Last week the local ASMP chapter had a meeting about how to protect your images under the new copyright laws. The most significant change came with the establishment of the Orphan Works law. This law makes the image public domain if it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder. With the proliferation of unlicensed usage of images on the web, it is very important to copyright your images and be diligent about where they are published. Without taking those protective steps, you may have a hard time proving your case, should your image get used improperly. The ASMP website has a step-by-step guide to the definitions and best practices of the current copyright laws, how to register your images, and what to do if your work has been infringed.
Only a small percentage of photographers register their images with the Copyright Office. ASMP is working to change this, but ultimately it is up to you, as the creator of your work, to take action and register. Our power defending copyright law for the independent working artist is increased with each copyright registration you file.