How to Copyright Your Article or Picture

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 4th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Web>Blogs & Blogging

Do you write blogs or for an article site? Are you wondering how to protect your article, or photographs, from theft? Perhaps you have heard about copyrighting things and wondering how to do it.

What is a Copyright?

The Copyright is the "rights" to copy an article, or photo, and use it. The information I will give you is based on the copyright laws for the United States, but are fairly similar worldwide.

As soon as an article is written, a piece of music is composed, a drawing is done, or a picture is taken the copyright is automatically applied. You do not have to do a thing!

At that very moment it is illegal for anyone to take your article, music, or photo, artwork, and use it for themselves. You automatically own the copyright to it without doing a thing.

What's with the © Symbol?

Some photographers are extra concerned about theft of their photos so they add the © symbol, often in a watermark, to make sure that everyone can see the photo is protected by copyright.

Just because you cannot see a © does not mean it is not copyright protected. In fact until you see the release form stating that a photo was released by the photographer free of copyright you must always assume it is copyright protected. The same applies to articles, poetry, artwork, and pieces of music.

To Clarify

Stealing is when you take a picture, article, artwork, and use it without the creators permission, even if no © is visible.

Even linking back to your source is not allowed and still constitutes theft if the picture (or whatever) is under copyright protection. In some cases a photo may be released free of copyright but require a link back to the source.

A fair use law allows children to use pictures in school reports (things that will not be shared publicly), but that law does not allow use of those photos on websites, in particular websites where people make money.

Things that are considered "Public Domain" are things that are released free of copyright.

In order to verify if a photo, drawing, or article is not copyright protected (first always assume that it is protected) you must find the release saying so, which can sometimes be done by clicking on a photo and seeing the source - if no such release exists, just assume it is copyright protected. Most of wikimedia commons, and all of pictures are copyright free.

Protecting Your Images, Artwork, and Articles

Because everything is automatically copyright owned by the person who produced it from the moment it is produced you do not have to include a © symbol, or write "Copyright protected" however due to the fact that many people are ignorant of the laws, it might be a good idea to do so if you are worried.

If you find somebody has stolen your picture or article, contact them to remove it. If they do not comply then you can contact their webhosting company and make mention of it.


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Article, Copyright, How To, Laws, Photographs, Picture, Prevent, Protect, Stealing, Theft, Wikinut

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
4th Jul 2013 (#)

Mark thank you for pointing out he fact that copyright is automatic - a lot of writers do not know this, when it should be common knowledge.

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author avatar Johnny Knox
5th Jul 2013 (#)

Useful analysis of the copyright concept, Mark.

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author avatar spgreaney
5th Jul 2013 (#)

This is very good information and your explanations about copyright are very easy to understand. I think a lot of people are still trying to wrap their minds around the whole copyright issue.

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
5th Jul 2013 (#)


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author avatar Trillionaire
5th Jul 2013 (#)

Thank you for this great information.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
6th Jul 2013 (#)

I had been seeing a lot of posters adding the word "copywrited" to their articles. Glad you cleared things up.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
6th Jul 2013 (#)

Or "copyrighted" -- whichever way is correct...

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
6th Jul 2013 (#)

Well written and thanks for refreshing....

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
7th Jul 2013 (#)

Very clear post, Mark, you have demystified a "hallowed" subject! Now I can search also for photos - siva

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author avatar Delicia Powers
8th Jul 2013 (#)

Outstanding article, very helpful...thanks Mark.

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author avatar Susan Jane
9th Jul 2013 (#)

Great information - fantastic clarification of an important issue. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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author avatar Grumpybear
20th Jul 2013 (#)

I am glad to say I mostly use my own photographs and artwork, as I don't like to use work that someone wouldn't want me to use. I learned that the hard way when I shared a picture I thought others would want to see. :)

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author avatar LOVERME
1st Aug 2013 (#)

but one can use a snap etc
and give credit as many do

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author avatar MMD
4th Aug 2013 (#)

Contacting to the owner is the best way to remind about the copyright.

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author avatar L. R. Laverde-Hansen
23rd Oct 2013 (#)

Very informative. Wondering if registering for copyright is recommended for clarifyjng original authorship. For example, one artist produces a work, but doesn't register it. Another artist later produces a similar work (let's assume it's not a copy of the first work), registers it, and may sue the first artist because he thinks he's being ripped off. It may not happen, but it can (especially if profits are involved).

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author avatar D in The Darling
23rd Dec 2013 (#)

Beautiful piece as always! I guess it's your bad habit which you can't kick out!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas and an amazingly prosperous 2014. May God make it a true new year!

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author avatar Songbird B
14th Mar 2014 (#)

I think the whole copyright ownership issue is really confusing but you have written this in such a clear concise way Mark, that it really does clear up a lot of the grey areas, and I really do appreciate this.. Great article, I learn from you continuously my friend. \0/xxx

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author avatar Sherri Granato
1st Aug 2014 (#)

Very helpful. Thanks.

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