Benefits / Resources / Articles
May 31, 2017

How to Register Your Images with the U.S. Copyright Office (Standard Application)

Many photographers know that as soon as they press the shutter button on their camera, they fully own the copyrights to that image. 

Some photographers will take it one step further and register their images with the U.S. Copyright Office. Registering your images makes it easier to determine that you own the copyright, and allows the registration holder (you!) to claim increased statutory damages, and possibly attorney's fees, if your images are used, sold, or reprinted without your permission! 

In order to register your photographic work, you must go to the Copyright Office's Website and create a free account to fill out your registration application. Once you are logged in, you'll want to click on "Register a New Claim". From here, the website will walk you through what needs to happen to successfully register your work. You can also visit the Copyright Office's step by step guide here. 

Registration is an important step in protecting your copyright. And PPA encourages all professional photographers to do it as part of their regular workflow. However, due to how complex, archaic, time-consuming, and expensive the registration process can be (yes, we think the system needs to be improved!), many of you will systematically fail to register your work. But this can change if more copyright holders, like photographers, push to modernize the Copyright Office. 

If you agree that change needs to happen and the copyright registration system needs to match the 21st century's technology needs and volume, then sign up today to show your support as PPA leads a large  Grassroots Action Team to push for these changes to happen. We're currently 11,000 strong. Add your voice to help us create a louder message at