Lightroom Tip: Update Your Copyright Year

It’s that time of the year again. If you use Lightroom then you should be using Metadata templates to add copyright info to your photos as you bring them in to Lightroom. Even if you’re not a pro, having the copyright info tagged to all of your photos is just generally a good idea. This info is attached to all of your photos, even when you export from Lightroom, so that where ever your photos go, the copyright notice goes along with it.

Updating is simple. Just go to the Library module. Then go to the Top menu under Metadata and choose Edit Metadata Presets. Select the preset that you want to edit (or create a new one) and change the Copyright year.


Tip: To make the Copyright symbol (©) type:

Mac: Option G

PC: Hold down Alt and type the numbers 0169

NOTE: Don’t forget that your photos are copyrighted the moment you create them. However, if you ever wish to bring a lawsuit against some one, you’ll need to register them with the Copyright Office. Here’s a quote from their website:

“In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.”

Have a great Thursday! :)



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  1. Is there any way that you can add a smart tag to the Lightroom watermark text so it will automatically extract the copyright year from the photo’s metadata? Sometimes I publish older photos and I would prefer that it pulled up the copyright year from the image instead of using the current year. Otherwise I have to edit the Publish collection settings to select an older watermark.

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  2. Lightroom 5 on Mac transforms the typed character sequence “(c)” automatically to ©.

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  3. Also, while you can register your copyright at any time, a long delay in registration after your photo is first published can result in the loss of some protections in enforcing your copyright, such as recovery of attorney’s fees from the infringer.

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  4. According to this: The year is not necessary unless the work has been published. Then the year used should be the year of “First Published” for the work.

    Unpublished works: © Creator’s Name
    Published works: © YYYY Creator’s Name

    That being the case it creates a situation where your Copyright data-entry templates do not need to be updated annually.

    Have the Napp Legal Advice Guys (Ed Greenberg) ever commented on this?

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