Proper way to show copyright on a digital photo.

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  • Hi everyone -

    I hope someone can shed some light on the proper way to show a copyright on a digital image. Is a visible copyright watermark simply enough or do you need copyright information embedded in the meta data of the image or both?

    Thanks in advance for any insight.

  • You should first understand that copyright notice is not required for protection. If you hold a copyright in this image, even publishing it without any notice at all will not destroy your rights. But some kind of notice will be really helpful for anyone who wants to reuse the image and needs to contact you for permission.

    I assume this is an image you created; you do not get a copyright simply by scanning an analog image to create a digital version.

    For many academic collections, we do not like to use watermarks because they can interfere with the research usefulness of the image. In those case, we embed the copyright information in the metadata. I think the choice should be based on the specific conditions regarding the image, including how it will be reused. The main point is that the choice does not make any legal difference.

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