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Although sharing your work on the internet is an excellent way to gain exposure, it can also cause a problem with copyright infringement of your photographs, paintings, drawings, graphics, etc.

Fortunately, there are a number of methods to protect the copyright of your art.

Protect Copyright of Artwork with Registration
Before you consider posting your artwork on the web, you should register it with a third party to help prove the ownership of the art in the event copyright infringement occurs.  Registering your work means you are documenting important details about the art including information about the author of the work and the owner of the copyright (the author and owner of the copyright might not be the same person if a transfer of ownership occurred).  There should also be details about the date of completion, the birthday of the author and whether multiple people were involved in the creation of the art.  All these details are recorded by the registry to help prove the ownership of copyright should someone steal your artwork and use it without permission.

You can register your copyright online, through an association, or through the Government.  Remember to avoid the temptation of “poor man’s copyright” (sending yourself a copyright of the work through registered mail), because the courts do not recognize it as a valid form of evidence.

Protect Copyright of Artwork with Watermarks
Once you know you have taken the steps to help prove your ownership of the artwork (through copyright registration), you can watermark your art.  Create a large image of your name or logo over your art.  Make your name or logo large enough to cover a good portion of the work and place it diagonally across the image, ensuring you have covered detailed parts of your image.  This is a great deterrent as the time required to remove the mark is often too great for the infringer, and they might avoid taking your work.

Protect Copyright by Including Your Contact Information
Another method to protect your copyright is to simply include your name and contact details with your artwork.  If you want to maintain all your copyrights, you should write “All Rights Reserved” then have your contact information so anyone who wants to use your work can contact you and ask permission.

Disclaimer: The above is meant as a general guide to further your copyright knowledge and does not constitute legal advice.  For questions about your specific work, you should consult a copyright lawyer in your country.

Author Bio
Justine Shoolman is the Co-Founder of Copyright Creators (www.copyrightcreators.com), a service inspired by the shortfalls of ‘poor man’s copyright’.  Copyright Creators protects copyright for life with no membership or renewal fees.  Visit Copyright Creators today and you’ll receive 4 free registrations to protect & create proof of your copyright online.

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