That’s a very nice question, hyde-function-photography. Thank you! I wanted to approach these issues in my blog for quite some time, but it’s not a simple matter and I’m very far far away from being an expert in the matters of copyright, so… short version (and probably very faulty) of my reply is:
I used Adobe Lightroom’s batch watermark system along with metadata. If you do not have access to Adobe’s products in any possible fashion you can also do the same thing, manually, with a free and open source app like Gimp. It’ll take more time, but it’ll be just as effective in signing your pictures. Copyrighting/Watermarking them, however, won’t guarantee that people won’t try to claim their photos as theirs or even using them as stock photos or something else, but at least it’ll make their work harder in doing so, if that’s what you’re into. ;)
Watermarking does not necessarily mean that the photo is copyrighted. From what I understood of some readings on the matter I’ve been doing, however, your artwork is automagically copyrighted by you in the instant you make it (at the same time there’s some people who say that you have to register it to be oficially yours, but I think that’s just in case you need to go to court, and even so there’s cheap alternatives to that registry).
The tricky thing with all of this, if we are to believe on the automagical hypothesis, and one of the reasons why so many people watermark, patent, etc their work, is that sometimes someone else will try to make profit in some way out of your work, so if you have any way to prove to a court that the content, as they like to call it nowadays, is yours, you win. You know, in case you sue. In case you don’t sue, watermarking and the proper use of metadata while publishing your work online helps those who are interested in finding you and your work.
Confused? Me too. This copyright world is a bitch. But I’ve reached to this conclusion: watermarking (when done tastefully and unobtrusively) presents us a win-win scenario.
Oh, oh! And since I’ve made this wall of text already, let me just point you to some interesting links:
- There’s this nifty tool to everyone who’s interested in finding the origin of that cool photo you saw but don’t know where it originally came from, but that it’d be nice to know, so you can drool and compliment that artist: TinEye.
- There’s also a place where, hopefully, you’ll be able to find better information about copyright than me and my fuzzy and paradoxal memory of what I’ve read years ago can provide: http://creativecommons.org/
- Last but not least, because I believe we ought to read about these things in different perspectives, here’s a view to copyright that is, in my opinion, a whole lifestyle as well as philosophy of life: Kopimi, Missionary Church of Kopimism and their symbols.
Hope this was helpful. Come back anytime. ^^