How to license your photos

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If you have ever wanted to create a webpage or a YouTube channel, you must have noticed that there are songs, videos or pictures that you cannot use in your work. This is because such videos, music, and pictures are already registered as someone else’s property, and you cannot use them without permission. According to copyright laws in general, an idea becomes the property of its first creator as soon as it is published. It doesn’t matter if you think of something without knowing it has already been thought of by someone else, that idea does not belong to you. First come, first serve. Because of this, it is very important to license your ideas as soon as you can.

Licensing photos is not as complicated as getting a license for some other things, such as for a bookmaker or a casino operator. To get a bookmaker license for instance, you have to undertake a police check, provide a substantial bank guarantee, and be evaluated by an approved evaluator. Contrary to this, licensing your photos is much simpler and cheaper. We will explain two quite convenient ways of licensing your photos.

Publish your photos

The first way to license your photos is to publish them and it doesn’t matter where you publish your photos in fact. It can be on your Facebook page, your website, a newspaper, a poster, in a casino or on the roof of your house. Once you publish the photo, it becomes your property.

Register at a copyright office

Another way of licensing your photos is to register your work at a copyright office. Thanks to the internet, you can do this online, by registering with the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO). First, you need to have an account at eCO and you have to pay a certain fee for all the photos you want to upload. What you should keep in mind is that you have to register published and unpublished photos separately. This is because your unpublished photos do not exist anywhere, so you do not need to prove that they are yours, but you need some proof of origin for the published photos. Once you prove to eCO that the published photos are yours, you can register them as your property.

Which of the two methods is better?

Both of these licensing methods provide protection of your intellectual property, but there are some pros and cons of both of them. The most important difference becomes apparent when dealing with theft. If somebody uses your photo without your permission, you can sue them, but you have to prove to the court that the photo is yours first. So, if you are registered with eCO you already have proof, but if you are not, this process might be difficult. In addition, if you are registered with eCO, you will get a higher compensation rate. The choice between the two methods is on you of course, but we recommend registering with eCO.

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