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How to Update Your Copyright Info for 2018

I thought I’d better get this one in for everybody like me who forgot to update their Lightroom Copyright metadata to 2018 (until today).

So, here’s how and where you update it:

NOTE: Also, I’ve got some new tour dates and cities for my Lightroom tour at the end of this post.

STEP ONE: Go to the Library Module; go under the Metadata menu and choose “Edit Metadata Presets” as shown here (by the way — even if you don’t have a Copyright template in place, you can use this same menu to create one, so still choose Edit Metadata Presets to get started).

STEP TWO: When the Edit Metadata Presets window appears (shown above), choose the name of the preset you want to Edit, and it displays your copyright template info (as seen).


STEP THREE: Go to the IPTC Copyright section, and click on the field to the right of Copyright (as shown here), then just type in 2018 right over where it previously said 2016. If you’re creating your first Copyright template, just go ahead and type in the IPTC Copyright and Creator Fields info (as seen here).

STEP FOUR: Once you’ve updated the date, it’s time to save you new preset by going to the pop-up menu at the top of the window and choosing “Save Current Settings as New Preset.”

STEP FIVE: This brings up a small dialog where you can enter the name for your New Preset (as seen above).

STEP SIX: If you don’t have any old 2017 images you haven’t imported into Lightroom yet, then you can delete last year’s preset (you won’t be using it again if you’ve already imported all your images from last year), so if you want to delete it (totally up to you  — you don’t have to), just choose the 2017 Preset from the pop-up menu; then go to the same pop-up menu and choose Delete Preset “2017 Copyright” (or whatever you named it), then click the Done button.

Now that we’ve done all that…there’s this:
Last year when I did this annual post, one of the commenters, Rob Posener, posted this comment:

“This was interesting, but NOT required. For a long time now US copyright law has been in synchronisation with the rest of the world so that you do NOT have to include a year in the copyright statement. Many people and companies still add the year (and still update the year) but only because they really don’t believe the law changed and they feel “more comfortable” with putting it in there (since it does no harm to do so).”

Now, Rob didn’t say whether he is a Intellectual Property Rights attorney or not, and he didn’t point us to any reference or source, so maybe somebody out there can point us to something along those lines. In the meantime, like he said, “It does no harm to do so” and as you just saw, it only takes about 60-seconds to update your copyright info, so…ya know. It’s up to you. 🙂

Hope you found that helpful.



P.S. We added new dates/cities to my Lightroom On tour full-day seminar: My next stops are San Antonio on Thursday, Feb 22nd, and then Houston on Monday, Feb 26th. Hope I get to see you there (here’s the link with details). 



  1. Audrey 10 January, 2019 at 11:08 Reply

    Hi there! I have the metadata preset set up, but when I export the files (and click to include the copyright info) the files are exported without any metadata. Any idea how to fix this? Thanks in advance!

      • Audrey 11 January, 2019 at 07:40 Reply

        Thanks, Rob! I have the export settings to include ‘copyright & contact info” but I’m still not having any luck with the photos exporting with metadata. Any other ideas?

  2. Michael Dow 5 January, 2019 at 08:50 Reply

    Found this from http://www.photoattourney.com, regarding whether the year should be included:

    The copyright notice as provided by 17 USC 401(b) should include:

    (1) the symbol © (the letter C in a circle), or the word “Copyright”, or the abbreviation “Copr.”; and

    (2) the year of first publication of the work; in the case of compilations or derivative works incorporating previously published material, the year date of first publication of the compilation or derivative work is sufficient. The year date may be omitted where a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, with accompanying text matter, if any, is reproduced in or on greeting cards, postcards, stationery, jewelry, dolls, toys, or any useful articles; and

    (3) the name of the owner of copyright in the work, or an abbreviation by which the name can be recognized, or a generally known alternative designation of the owner.

  3. Pat O'Halloran 8 January, 2018 at 05:20 Reply

    Info from our UK site


    Copyright will apply whether there is a copyright notice or not.
    In the US, a notice was required to retain copyright on works published before January 1st 1978, but this was the exception not the norm, and is certainly no longer the case. Also, once the US signed up to the Berne convention, US law was amended, and the use of copyright notices became optional on work published from March 1st 1989.
    Having said this, it is still certainly worth placing a copyright notice on your work. A copyright notice reminds others that copyright exists, and may therefore help to deter infringement.

  4. Graham Douglas 8 January, 2018 at 04:53 Reply

    I do it slightly differently: my main preset is just called “copyright” and contains the current year. At the change of year, I just save it as “copyright “, then change the year and update “copyright”. Saves having remember to make further changes if you apply the preset on import.

    Top tip: to get rid of the annoying caption that Olympus cameras always add to your pictures, tick (but don’t fill in) the caption field in your copyright preset. This will clear that caption field on import, if you apply copyright as part of the process.

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