The life of a photographer who likes to shoot just about anything.

Copyright Registration – Just (a few more) facts, Ma’am

I’ve been registering my unpublished images with the United States Copyright Office for many years. When I started I filled out a “Form VA” for “Visual Arts”, made low-rez jpgs of my images, copied them to a CD and mailed everything including payment. Then I’d have to wait between 4 to 12 months to receive my “Certificate of Registration”. Several years later the Copyright Office moved into the 21st Century and it was all done online. (For the record, you can still do it the old way if you prefer.) It was confusing in the being, but it was cheaper – $35 vs. $45 – and once you got the hang of it, it became easy. The images are uploaded as a zip file (I make several zip files as I register 1000s of images at a time), payment is made and (sometimes) within a month I’d have my Certificate. Now, once again, the Copyright Office is making a few more changes. The basic online workflow for registering is still the same, but they also want your image titles. Before all that was required was the title of the collection – “Richard J Green 100 Unpublished Images  August 2011” – or whatever you want to call it. In addition to this title, they encourage you to provide your image titles too. (It’s not an requirement. Yet.) Now if you’re registering just ONE image, it’s easy! But if you’re registering over 5000 images, which is what I did this morning, well, it took some figuring out how to do it.

I learned of this new procedure from a letter that I received from the Copyright Office. Here’s the info:

1. give a collection title only in the primary application title area (from the Titles screen in eCO, click “New” and then select “Title of work being registered” in the Title Type drop down menu; type your collection title into the “Title of Work” field; click “Save”;

2. and to list all of your particular titles in the “contents Titles” are (after entering and saving the collection title, click “New” again and select “contents Title” from the Title Type drop down menu, and enter individual titles in the “title of Work” field, either one title per field or several titles per field separated by a semicolon);

3. and to upload a titles page as one of the links that you attach to your case.

4. We hope that you upload electronic editions of your works, but if you mail hard-deposits instead, still you should list all contents titles in the electronic application and include a titles pages in the hard-deposit that you mail to us.

See! Ain’t that easy!

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