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Author Topic: US Copyright Office - misunderstood rules of filing requirements - PLEASE READ!  (Read 4619 times)

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« on: August 10, 2011, 11:26 »
0
Another hit in the stomach (I think) from the US Copyright Office today via email.

I tried to register my latest batch 2 months ago and received a response from their office via email regarding an issue with my filing.

I filed all my images as published work. Here comes the kicker:
Quote
... You also mentioned in your reply that some of the material was published before 6/XX/2011. Please be aware that this registration covers only the material that was published on 6/XX/2011. Please note, you may only register a single "unit of publication" per application.  

Only works that were initially published together as a unit, and on the same date may be filed under one registration.  Works that were published separately (even on the same date) or on different dates must each be filed on separate applications. ...

All the "professional" blogs and articles online advise photographers to register their images in regular intervals e.g. every 3 months.

But according to this response each filing/registration can only cover "one unit of publication". Since photographers are publishing their images on a daily basis (stock, editorial, event etc. shooters) they all would have to file registration every single day?

Do I get this right? I mentioned before that English isn't my native tongue but this sure sounds off.

Does any of you who register copyright ONLY register unpublished works because of this?

Or do you just register a few times a year to "cover" all images (which supposedly isn't allowed)?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 11:27 by click_click »


PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2011, 12:04 »
0
I've been looking into this too and that's the impression I got. That published photos need to be submitted in groups by day published.

Unpublished photos sound like they can be submitted by year and/or as many files as the upload timeout limit can handle.

It sounds like it's $35 per group of photos published on a specific date. If that's the case it would cost me a fortune to register over three years of stuff.

And yes, most blogs seem to have it wrong. Or, they just show you how to register unpublished and skip over registering published. Probably because they have no idea what the process is.

« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2011, 14:37 »
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This is interesting, I too didn't know about this.

The only reason to register your copyright, and pay $, is to give you the privilege of suing infringers for damages. If you ever did sue someone for infringement, and that person's lawyer could show that you filed for your copyrights in the wrong way, your case would probably be thrown out, and the time and money you spent would be for nothing, I'm guessing.

microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2011, 16:11 »
0
But isn't the photographer the copyright holder automatically, even without registering?
Date of first publication, or having the raw files... isn't enough proof?
« Last Edit: August 10, 2011, 16:13 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 16:40 »
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What about all of us that don't live in the US?  I really don't see the point in me registering images with US Copyright Office.  I think there should be an international copyright office that all the countries use.

« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2011, 16:53 »
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I need to speak to a bunch of photographers that regularly register to get a better picture.

I'm also still waiting for a response from the US Copyright Office about this issue.

I don't see why I can't bulk register my work of the last couple of months in one filing. Instead they want me to register images on a daily basis? Yeah right.

The only way to circumvent this whole thing is to stop uploading for three months and then register unpublished work.

Then start uploading that batch bit by bit until you continuously have a lag of 3 months for "new" stuff.

I guess I could work like that. I just don't know how editorial, event and time sensitive shooters do it...?

« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2011, 17:08 »
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Click,

Either you used the wrong form, or you were given incorrect information by the copyright office.

According to circular 40 - http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf

"Group Registration of Published Photographs
A single registration can be made for a group of published
photographs if all the following conditions are met.
The same photographer took all the photographs (if an
employer for hire is named as author, only one photographers
work can be included).
All the photographs were first published in the same calendar
year.

All the photographs have the same copyright claimant(s).

To register groups of published photographs, you can
use Form GR/PPh/CON, available on the Copyright Office
website under Forms. You can complete the form on your
personal computer and print it out or print out a blank copy
and complete it using black ink. Mail the completed form to
the Copyright Office with the appropriate fee and deposit."

Did you use Form GR/PPh/CON?  If not, then that may be your problem.  If so, you could reply to the email with the reference to circular 40 and ask for clarification. 

My understanding is that the 1 day restriction applies to a "collection" of images like those used to create a calendar not a "group" which is spelled out above.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2011, 17:16 »
0
But isn't the photographer the copyright holder automatically, even without registering?
Date of first publication, or having the raw files... isn't enough proof?

Yes, but with unregistered images you can only sue for actual damages which the lawsuit would probably cost more than the amount awarded.

With registered images you can sue for statutory damages which could be in the tens of thousands to over $100,000.

So basically, without registration even if you win a lawsuit you lose financially and any lawyer would probably charge you hourly because there's no money to win.

PaulieWalnuts

  • On the Wrong Side of the Business
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2011, 17:18 »
0
Click,

Either you used the wrong form, or you were given incorrect information by the copyright office.

According to circular 40 - http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf

"Group Registration of Published Photographs
A single registration can be made for a group of published
photographs if all the following conditions are met.
The same photographer took all the photographs (if an
employer for hire is named as author, only one photographers
work can be included).
All the photographs were first published in the same calendar
year.

All the photographs have the same copyright claimant(s).

To register groups of published photographs, you can
use Form GR/PPh/CON, available on the Copyright Office
website under Forms. You can complete the form on your
personal computer and print it out or print out a blank copy
and complete it using black ink. Mail the completed form to
the Copyright Office with the appropriate fee and deposit."

Did you use Form GR/PPh/CON?  If not, then that may be your problem.  If so, you could reply to the email with the reference to circular 40 and ask for clarification. 

My understanding is that the 1 day restriction applies to a "collection" of images like those used to create a calendar not a "group" which is spelled out above.


I believe this only applies if you mail this form and images. It doesn't work this way for the Eco online system.

« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2011, 17:18 »
0
Click,

Either you used the wrong form, or you were given incorrect information by the copyright office.

According to circular 40 - http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf

"Group Registration of Published Photographs
A single registration can be made for a group of published
photographs if all the following conditions are met.
The same photographer took all the photographs (if an
employer for hire is named as author, only one photographers
work can be included).
All the photographs were first published in the same calendar
year.

All the photographs have the same copyright claimant(s).

To register groups of published photographs, you can
use Form GR/PPh/CON, available on the Copyright Office
website under Forms. You can complete the form on your
personal computer and print it out or print out a blank copy
and complete it using black ink. Mail the completed form to
the Copyright Office with the appropriate fee and deposit."

Did you use Form GR/PPh/CON?  If not, then that may be your problem.  If so, you could reply to the email with the reference to circular 40 and ask for clarification. 

My understanding is that the 1 day restriction applies to a "collection" of images like those used to create a calendar not a "group" which is spelled out above.


Thank you Sadstock. You are correct and I have just received the same confirmation directly from the Copyright Office as well:
Quote
You can indeed register a group of published photographs with one application. However the rules for such a registration are very strict and you are not allow to combine photographs and 2-D artwork on such a registration.

When does a group of published photographs qualify for a single registration using Form GR/PPh/CON? A single group copyright registration can be made if all the following conditions are met:
1 All the photographs are by the same photographer, whether the author is an individual or an employer for hire.
2 All the photographs were first published in the same calendar year.
3 All the photographs have the same copyright claimant(s)

If the photographs are not works made for hire, name the photographer as the author. If the photographs are works made for hire, name the employer as author and give the name of the photographer (for example: XYZ Corporation, employer for hire of John Doe). To qualify for a group registration, all the photographs must be by the same individual photographer. Under Nature of Authorship, check only the box for Photograph.


Supposedly they are working on offering this group filing in the ECO system some time in the future, so we'll see how it works out. I hate snail mail...

« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2011, 17:23 »
0
In all those years where I read "professional" photographers' blogs and articles on how to register copyright, never I have read that the bulk submission cannot be done through the current ECO system.

Always it has been emphasized that the ECO system is so great and easy to file hundreds or thousands of images.

It's all lies  ::)

What the heck?

« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2011, 12:49 »
0
A noob interjecting here - so because of this copyright issue (that I don't fully understand) is it safer to upload in bulk (every few months) than it is to upload in parts (say 10 images a week)? Or does it not matter?

lagereek

« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2011, 12:56 »
0
Waste of time!!  these cases are almost always thrown out of court,  unless, there is a clear case of logo, trademark or person infringement. As in the famous case of Pepsi, some 10 years back AND the photographer in question had filed for copy.


 

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