Hello there -
When a photographer or any other artist takes a photo of a subject then that work product produced by the photographer is automatically copyrighted and you automatically receive all of the proceeds from any publication of the photograph(s) unless you sign a release granting the magazine the right to use the photos for free or you enter into a contract permitting the magazine to lease the photos from you or to buy the photos from you outright. You see, prior to 1978, every artist, photographer, etc had to complete a form and send a copy of their work to the US Copyright office in order to have copyright protection against their works being stolen from them and used by someone else. In 1978 the Congress passed a law amending the US Copyright act which gives every artist, photographer, etc an automatic copyright in their own work without having to register it with the US Copyright office. The only thing you have to do is put your name and the words "Copyright 2013" on the back of the photo (or you can use the symbol for copyright which is a small c enclosed in a circle with the year next to it). If you do this then your private works are protected and you can sue any party who uses the photo without your permission so long as you can show that you took the photo.
Regarding how to make a submission to playboy or any other magazine or publication, that is not something that I can really answer here. If you check with their websites you should be able to get submission information that way.
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