The answer is, you can but you don’t need to.
Here is a statement from the US government’s copyright office on pictorial, graphic and sculptural works:
“A work is automatically protected by copyright when it is created, that is, “fixed” in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. Neither registration in the Copyright Office nor publication is required for copyright protection.” [for works created AFTER March 1, 1989]
If you would like to read more about it, this statement was taken from the PDF located here: http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf
Should I have a watermark on my image?
No, absolutely NOT. As you already know, your work is automatically copyrighted.
In speaking with a lot of artists, this seems to be a big concern for them and is completely understandable. We work hard on making our ideas into beautiful creations and don’t want someone showing up and stealing that idea for profit. Completely valid concern.
Now, reality. The reason we have a website is to SHOWCASE our artwork. If a potential client comes to your site and sees a large watermark splayed across the piece it’s going to take away from all the hard work you put into creating it. Clients already cannot see your work in person, so you want to make it as easy as possible to let them see the details. Large and up close!
Remember, you are protected by copyright the moment you create your artwork and well before you post it online.
Note: I am not an attorney and this article is not legal advice. This article is intended for general information only. If you need legal advice, please contact a legal professional.
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