Photographers here in New York and elsewhere often get excited about their work. In that excitement, they may post their work for others to see without making sure that they receive the appropriate payment for it. Until recently, they could file for copyright protection and file intellectual property litigation against those who failed to pay for the work.
Now, however, that option is not available. A recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court now requires photographers to obtain a copyright prior to filing any lawsuits. Having an application on file is no longer enough. This could add another six months or more to the process since it may take that long to receive a copyright on an image.
Shortening that time is costly. Receiving a copyright could happen in as little as one or two weeks, but it would cost approximately $800 to expedite an application. If a photographer needs to transfer title to a work, it would cost another $550.
In the alternative, 750 images could receive registration for $55, but it is not always easy to know which images would be worth doing so. While waiting for copyrights of certain images, a photographer could lose a substantial amount of money. It seems as though the only way to really ensure the work remains protected is to obtain a copyright before even sharing it.
New York photographers that want to know how to best protect their work would certainly benefit from some advice. For those who discover that an image was used without payment, intellectual property litigation remains an option as well. In either case, working with an attorney experienced in this area could prove invaluable.