Bert P. Krages II, Attorney at Law

Bert P. Krages II
Attorney at Law     |     For more information, visit www.krages.com

Using Photoshop to Enhance Copyright Protection

As discussed on the page about copyright registration, registering works with the U.S. Copyright Office provides significant advantages when seeking redress against infringers. Registration of groups of photographs is neither expensive nor difficult and can be done quickly and with little effort if steps are taken to incorporate copyright issues into the normal work flow of processing images. Photoshop’s actions function can be used to expedite the process of creating the deposit of images that is required when you submit your registration application and can also enhance the level of copyright protection by embedding a copyright notice into the metadata of your image files.

The first action described below saves the file in the current directory, prepares a low-resolution copy, stores the low-resolution copy in a separate designated folder, and then closes the image file. The low-resolution images can then be copied from the folder onto a CD or DVD for inclusion with the application. If you want, you can modify this action to create actions that copy the low-resolution files to different destination folders for published and unpublished images.

The second action embeds a copyright notice and related information for unpublished images into the IPTC space of a digital image file. IPTC is an internationally recognized protocol that enables text information to be embedded in the image for future reference. Using this action will also cause Photoshop to display a copyright symbol on the title bar of images that are opened in Photoshop. If you want, you can modify this action so that it can be used for published images.

The Copyright Dump Action

To create the Copyright Dump action:

  1. Create a directory folder called “Copyright Dump” or similar name. This is the directory in which you will store the low-resolution images produced by the action. When you are ready to submit the application to register the copyrights to the images, you can copy the images in the folder onto a CD or DVD.
     
  2. Open an image for which you will want to register the copyright.
     
  3. Go to the View menu and click to make the “Actions” palette appear on the monitor.
     
  4. Click on the “New Action” symbol which is the square-within-a square icon at the bottom of the palette.
     
  5. Enter “Copyright Dump” in the space for “Name” and click on “Record.”
     
  6. Click onto the “File” menu and then click onto “Save.” This will save the image in its current file folder.
     
  7. Click on the “Image” menu and click on “Image Size.”
     
  8. Click on “Auto Resolution” and enter “75 lines per inch” in the space for “Screen.”
     
  9. Click OK and then click OK to exit the Image Size palette. The image size should now be smaller.
     
  10. Click onto the “File” menu and then click onto “Save As.” Make the file type is either JPEG, TIFF, or GIF. Change the folder to “Copyright Dump" and click “Save.”
     
  11. Click on the square at the bottom of the action palette to stop recording the action.
     

To use the Action

Each time you are done processing an image in Photoshop, play the action and Photoshop will automatically save the file into its current directory and then create and store a low- resolution copy into the Copyright Dump folder. When you are ready to submit the registration application to the U.S. Copyright Office, you can copy the entire Copyright Dump folder onto a CD or DVD to prepare the required deposit. Afterwards, you should copy the files to another CD or DVD for your records and delete all the images from the folder. Alternatively, if you want to keep the record of the registered images on your hard drive, you can rename the Copyright Dump directory to correspond to the title used on the registration application (e.g., Images, October to December 2006) and create a new folder called “Copyright Dump.”

The Copyright Notice Action

To create the action:

  1. Open an image for which you want to insert the copyright notice.
     
  2. Go to the View menu and click on “Actions” to make the Actions palette appear on the monitor.
     
  3. Click on the “New Action” symbol which is the square-within-a-square shaped icon at the bottom of the palette.
     
  4. Enter “Copyright Notice” in the space for “Name” and click on “Record.”
     
  5. Click on the “File” menu and then click on “File Info.”
     
  6. Enter your name into the space for “Author,” click on the space for “Copyright Status” and indicate “Copyrighted Work.”
     
  7. In the space for “Caption,” enter “unpublished work Alt-0169” from the numbers keypad if using a PC or “unpublished work Option-g” if using a Mac. Append this phrase with your name and the year of creation so that the entire phrase reads something like “unpublished work Your Name 2005.” Copy and paste this information into the space of “Copyright Notice” as well. You want to use the caption space because this is where some other programs read the basic file information. It is a good idea to include your address and contact information into the caption space.
     
  8. Click on “OK” and then click on the square at the bottom of the Action palette to stop recording the action.
     

Note: You can create a separate action to be used for published images. To do this, omit the phrase “unpublished work” in step 7 and insert the year of first publication.

To use the action:

Each time you are finished with processing an image in Photoshop, play the action and Photoshop will automatically insert the textual information into the IPTC space.