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How to Copyright Photos and Written Works: Ask a Lawyer

How to copyright photos and written worksWhether you’re writing the next great novel or inventing a new cell phone app, it’s important to legally protect your creative works. One of our fans asked us how to protect her photos and written works, as well as how to pass the rights on to her heirs. Read on to learn what you need to know about protecting your intellectual property if you’re in a creative line of work.

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I am a writer and photographer. How do I protect my intellectual property and give printing copyrights to my family after my death.

-Paulissa K


As the author of original creative works, you have copyright protection already. But if there’s ever a dispute about your copyright (like someone is publishing your works without your permission) it helps to have your copyright registered. It’s $35 per registration, but you could register a series of photographs under one application, for example. Here’s some more information about copyright registration.

Also, you want to keep good records. For example, you’ll want to have complete, original copies of any written works or photographs.

You can pass on copyright ownership in your estate plan–either in your Will, or by setting up a Trust. You’ll probably want to talk to a lawyer who can look at all of your assets–intellectual property and otherwise–to figure out the best route for you and your heirs.

Visit our Intellectual Property Center for more help protecting your creative works.

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