Question about Copyright & the 3 month grace period

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  • I have a copyright question hopefully someone can help clear up for me.

    I've read that you should register your copyright within 3 months of it being published.

    In my case I am dealing with photographs.
    So I'm curious....Does this mean I can take a number of photos on July 12, 2010, upload them all over the internet and/or have them published in a magazines and I have until September 11, 2010 to officially register them? And when I do register them- would I registered the images as "unpublished" ? OR do they have to registered as "published" ?

    Thanks all in advance
  • There are two major reasons why a copyright should be registered. The first is to be able to bring a lawsuit for infringement in federal court. The second is to be able to collect statutory damages (as opposed to actual damages) if that lawsuit is successful.

    If you take pictures and upload them on July 12, you are correct that you have until Sept. 11 to register them and preserve you option to elect statutory damages if there is an infringement (second reason above). But you can still register after that at any time, and would need to do so in order to bring a lawsuit (first reason above), even if registration occurred after the window that would permit statutory damages had closed.

    Probably should register the photos as published.
  • Should also note Copyright is automatically assigned to you. Once anyone places something in a fixed tangible medium, they have copyright protection and ownership of that item. The interesting case of the Molotov Man by Joy Garnett was a painting made from a piece of a photograph taken twenty years earlier and published in a book about the revolution in Nicaragua. Molotov Man, the painting, suddenly was used in multiple variations for many different purposes. One, counter Pepsi and another, with Pepsi clever adverstising turned message around to 'join' the Pepsi revolution. Joy Garnett won more attention to her painting of a photograph but the photographer was also more recognized for her work. See for the program information.

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