How to Add a Copyright Notice to a Facebook Photo

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Copyright notice is no longer required under United States copyright law to claim copyright protection over your photographs on Facebook. However, copyright notice is valuable, as it puts third parties on notice regarding your rights. It's possible to provide copyright notice through the use of a watermark that appears on the photograph image, but the more traditional textual form of notice also provides protection.

Copyright Protection

A photograph is technically copyrighted as soon as it is fixed in a tangible medium. Registering for copyright protection with the United States Copyright Office is still important, as copyright registration provides several benefits. Copyright registrants enjoy the ability to sue for statutory damages, attorney's fees and court costs. Additionally, registration provides a record of the material and allows rights to the photograph to be transferred.

Creating a Copyright Notice

A valid copyright notice should contain the following items: the word "copyright" or the copyright symbol, the year of publication and the name of the author. An example of a valid copyright notice is: "© 1999 John Doe." For unpublished photographs, place the word "unpublished" in the copyright notice before the copyright symbol: "Unpublished © 1999 John Doe."

Placement of Notice

It is permissible to place your copyright notice anywhere it can be seen with your photo on Facebook. Applicable placement includes the comments section of your photo, the photo description, or the photograph title. Because Facebook makes it easy for others to share your photo and for your photo to be displayed in other contexts, you may use copyright notice watermarks to tie the notice directly to the photo. You can add a copyright notice watermark to your photographs by using any of the free software programs provided in the Resources section. Finally, it is possible to add a copyright notice in the metadata comments section associated with your photograph. Metadata is the file information stored digitally along with your photo. However, the use of metadata copyright notice is not recommended, as Facebook may remove metadata when the photo is uploaded to the site.

Copyright Infringement

If you find someone using a photograph that you've posted to Facebook without your permission, send a cease and desist letter explaining that the photograph is your copyrighted material and that you are demanding immediate removal. If the other party does not comply with your cease and desist notice, you can bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement. If you have not registered your photograph for copyright protection, you will only be able to sue for actual damages that have resulted from use of the photo.

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