How to Protect Images via Copywriting


No matter what type of content creator one is, protecting their work is a priority for all. With apps like EaseUS Todo Backup, it is possible to safely store one’s files like images. However, that does not protect the pictures from getting shared online without the creator’s express permission.

Thus, many people want to learn how to copyright digital photos and secure them down to the metadata. This post covers the different ways to protect images from theft or unauthorized commercial use. Read ahead to learn all the necessary details.

Best Solutions to Copyright and Protect Images

In the context of how to add copyright to pictures, there are different approaches one can take to complete the process safely. We went through these tactics to check out what would work best. Here, we present them in detail.

Solution 1: Obtain Your Copyright Registration

Images that photographers click are essentially intellectual property. However, one must still apply for copyright under the legal divisions for their content. The process would take incur some costs.

If you are wondering how to copyright digital photos, the first authority group that you should focus on is the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright registration will allow you to claim any infringement lawsuit under the U.S. Government if someone steals your work. It provides the owner with legal ownership proof, and one would get high reimbursement for damages.

The process of registration is possible through online and mail mediums.

How to do this online?

Step 1: Go to the official website of the Copyright Office of the U.S.

Step 2: Access the Registration option and click on the “Register Your Work: Registration Portal” choice.

Registration Portal

Step 3: If you have an eCO account, sign in to your account. Or register for a new one.  

eCO account

Step 4: Complete the application process, adding all relevant information to the right text fields in the form. The standard application type is suitable for all professions, like full-time, for-hire, and collaborative work.

You should register some of your published/unpublished images in this application.

Step 5: Evaluate that you choose the right work type setting and a relevant application type. Follow all instructions as follow for verification.

Step 6: Click on the “Add Cart” button to accept your application request and complete the registration payment process.

The confirmation message for the payment would reach the email address you provided. Notably, this is a receipt of the transaction only.

Step 7: Next, upload a photo that you to copyright to see which file types are acceptable.

Step 8: After this, press the “Complete Your Subscription” option, and the file will get uploaded. The confirmation email about the registration would go into the email address the user added.

Solution 2: Upload low-resolution photos

Another useful solution to protect images from theft is uploading low-resolution images directly to your account. This is one of the simplest methods you can take while working on how to copyright digital photos.

Most users that opt for taking photos of other creators for their own use look for images available in the highest-possible resolution. So, when you copyright the image you have, reduce the resolution to make the image unable to get used for commercial purposes.

If you have a photo with a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1920 x 1080 pixels, you should reduce its quality.

Solution 2: Use an EXIF Editor app

The EXIF data in images includes a wide range of details regarding the pictures, like the time of capture, saving location, camera type, etc. In the current types of digital cameras that are available, there are more data points that one can include the image EXIF data. These include exposure, shutter speed, copyright information, resolution, frame rate, and exposure, among others.

EXIF Editor app

You can use a secure EXIF editing tool like Photos Exif Editor from Systweak. This app can delete individual photo metadata, read/write XMP/IPTC/GPS/EXIF metadata, set original date-time/medication, and other customizations. This app is usable only on Mac devices, but you can store other image information to add and avoid unauthorized usage.

Solution 3: Handle Special Licensing Benefits

After learning how to add copyright to pictures, you should make sure to mention that the image is under copyright protection. For this, you should make changes to your website, showing that users need to ask for special permission to use your images.

Warnings regarding unfair usage of your image for free would deter online users from using your pictures to avoid facing any legal actions. Images with special licensing include details like with author’s name, image title, and copyright. These can verify the proof of identity of your pictures.

Solution 4: Use Watermark to Safeguard your Images

Watermarks on images show the main owner of the images. Many photographers choose to add these semi-transparent watermarks to the image to showcase that a picture is copyrighted. However, software types are available that can remove watermarks from pictures, although the process is not always simple.

Most people want to avoid the extra steps it would take to remove watermark and prefer downloading non-watermarked pictures directly. So, they would avoid using these images. Since the watermarks can seem visually unappealing, you can also utilize invisible watermarks.

Solution 5: Add details about the image source

In most browsers, online users can search for free images, but sometimes, they may get photos that are not genuinely free to use. This is difficult to detect since the image may not include the information regarding the owner or source details. Therefore, one might mistakenly use the image for personal use.

After focusing on how to copyright digital photos, the best solution is to add the copyright source or owner information within the file instead. Add the details at the lower part of the image, showing the main person with ownership rights. This is simple to handle, but one can crop out the source information on image editing apps. So, it does not assure guaranteed protection.

Solution 6: Overlay with transparent files on your pictures

After learning how to copyright digital photos, you would know that overlaying another transparent file onto the image should protect it. Make sure to keep this in a similar format. Afterward, online users cannot right-click on the picture from any browser or your website and copy it. Additionally, they cannot drag and drop the images either.

The process is useful but not the best choice for people with limited technical knowledge, like the process of using HTML. Plus, one can still screenshot the image.

Other ways to prevent photo piracy online?

Image thieves can still try to acquire one’s images from their social media accounts, websites, or other locations. Besides doing the copyright method of image protection, you can use other tactics to prevent photo piracy.

One of the best ones is using software to avoid any theft of your private content from devices, like image files. AVG Antivirus, for example, is useful to protect devices against malware attacks and even activate anti-theft security.


After completing these steps and processes, you can expect high-quality and fully protected image files in your library. Of course, you should carry out the steps carefully, especially regarding getting copyright authorization. The success potential of the process would be determined based on how well you complete all the given steps. So, pay attention at all times!

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