Legal Ownership of Photos


I want to upload my photos on the internet. However, I want to protect them from unauthorised use. How can I get a registered copyright? I want to ensure legal ownership over my work.
Suprabhat Giri, via email

This article was originally published in March 2015.

Protecting photographs from unauthorised use in this digital age where most content is accessible by anyone, can be difficult. However, in the case of unauthorised use, one can ensure that one has the evidence required in a court of law, to prove ownership. The copyright over any kind of original artistic work, such as photos, comes into existence as soon as the work is made. However, you need to do a few things prove yourself as the legal author. The most fool proof method is to apply for a certificate of registration of copyright under the Indian Copyright Act, 1957. However, if you shoot extensively every week or every month,the registration might prove to be tedious due to the paperwork and fees involved. For further details, you can visit

Another alternative could be publishing the images on an online platform, such as a website. In the event of image theft, such misuse will probably happen at a later date. Hence, you can prove that the works belong to you as you published them much earlier. Alternatively, if you have a large body of work, you could simply hand it over to an external agency, which will then manage the sale and reproduction of your work. The agency will also copyright the work, however, in such cases; the copyright of the work will be in their name, while ownership will still belong to you.

Tags: Question of the Day, March, Legal Ownership of Photos, Internet, Unauthorised use, Copyright, Registered, Ownership