Copyright registration is generally a relatively straightforward task but ImageRights International, Inc. just made the process so easy with its new plug-in for Lightroom that there's no excuse not to register your images. The company will also search online for unauthorized use. We all know how often images are used without permission, so the plug-in and Image Rights' Discovery services are a win-win.
You'll need to set up an account with ImageRights and download the Lightroom plug-in (both for free). For the most basic registration process, just check off a box in the plug-in's export module, upload images and then they're ready for U.S. Copyright Office registration.
ImageRights also offers a Publishing Service plug-in that lets you create an image set so the collection can be synced to your ImageRights account. Once that process is completed, the ImageRights Discovery service automatically starts scouring online for new uses of your images. There's a lot of technology involved, including the assignment of a unique fingerprint for each of your images, but ImageRights seems to have a highly sophisticated method in place.
What happens next? Well, ImageRights will provide a free assessment of the changes of getting reparation from the infringer and help obtain a settlement. If that doesn't work there are other options available, including copyright infringement demand letters or handing over the case to one of the law firms in ImageRights network—they'll take a cut of the fees recovered (between 40 and 50 percent, depending on your plan) but the time and effort you'd spend on your own pursuing infringements will be worth splitting the recovery dollars.
The plans range from Basic, for which you'll pay $69 or $89 per USCO Copyright Registration filing, with the ability to protect up to 1,000 images. The Pro plan costs $495 year and includes three free USCO Copyright Registration filings, no service fee for recovery cases and protection up to 100,000 images. For $1,295 a year, you'll get five free USCO Copyright Registration filings, 60 percent of net recovery cases and protection for up to 250,000 images.
It looks like a great service and one that every photographer—whether you're a part-time freelancer or a full-time pro—should sign up for. Even if you don't ever have to take advantage of the company's recovery services, you're more likely to register your images thanks to the integration of the Lightroom plug-in. Sure, it'll cost you a few dollars more to register via ImageRights, but if that's what it takes to ensure you follow through, it's certainly worth the price.