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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 2997
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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A had hired person to do web page. A receives letter from attorney

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A had hired person to do web page. A receives letter from attorney demanding $950.00 or he'll file a federal law suit for copy right infringement. The photo is of the Alamo! A claims there is nothing distinct about the photo. Is there a legitimate cause of action?

Yes, there is a legitimate cause of action. Photographs are entitled to copyright protection. Thus, if you use a copy of a photo without the copyright owner's permission, the copyright owner does have the right to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit. There does not have to be anything "distinct" about a photo. Nor does it matter what the photo is of. So long as the copy of the photo at issue can be identified as a copy of the original, then infringement has occurred.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What are the necessary steps one must take to obtain copyright protection of photographs?


Copyright automatically comes into existence whenever something is placed in a fixed form. Thus, for a photograph copyright protection begins once the photograph is taken.

However, before a person can bring a lawsuit to enforce copyright rights, that person must register the photograph with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Thomas Swartz and 3 other Intellectual Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

what does it cost to register a photograph?

Once registered is the photo marked identifying it as protected under copyright laws?

Hello enjoyeverday.

Sorry for not responding sooner. The filing fee for online registration of a copyright is $35. If instead you decide to fill out paper forms, the registration fee is $65 - U.S. Copyright Office Fees.

The Copyright Office does not mark individual works as copyrighted. That is the responsibility of the copyright owner. And you would simply put a copyright notice on the photo in the form as follows:

© (or the word copyright), the year of first publication, the name of the copyright owner.

Thus for example it would look lie:

© 2013 John Smith


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