This site does provide good copyright info and legal advice. But it fails to mention that the REAL DEFENSE of a digital file is to minimize the chance of letting one falling into the wrong hands. But if everyone knows how to do that, there will be no business left for the copyright attorneys.
Some cases to consider:
- Web site images: some still post large 300ppi images online.
- Many calls for entries request 300ppi images, and many applicants would bite without asking questions like, "If the images will not be printed for jurying, why is 300ppi necessary?", "If an image is printed for publicity, how will you ensure that the printer will protect the digital file?", "What will happen to the digital files after the jury is completed?"
- Many use services, online or otherwise, for digital scans, digital prints, digital book publishing, digital albums etc. I have yet to come across one such service that states how a submitted or created digital file is protected. It would be somewhat comforting if they can at least state something like, "We own the responsibility of protecting the copyright of your digital files. Unless requested otherwise, we do not archive your digital files and will delete them from our computers after completing your service."
The effort and expense to copyright your work pale in comparison to the effort and expense for hiring a copyright attorney. It is kind of like a lousy insurance policy. Most unauthorized use of digital images are done by those who either know nothing about copyright law or don't respect it. Your insurance premium (i.e. copyright) means nothing to them and will not prevent them from misuse. If you wish to procecute the offenders (assuming you can identify them), you will have to pay a lot more than the premium.
In addition to, or instead of, copyrighting your work, we need more people to speak up and ask the above questions.