Monday, October 17, 2011

Needs Help Registering Flower Greeting Cards


Dear Rich: I myself took pictures of flowers for a set of greeting cards. All photos were taken by me during last 4 months. Some of the cards were gifts to friends, 15 were sold mostly to neighbors, and some were displayed by friends and relatives. All total maybe 150 cards (from 11 different images) were given, sold or displayed. (1) Are the photographs unpublished or published? (2) May I write “approx” nearest date of publication of some photos if I not sure about exact date? (3) Do I need two separate applications to apply for copyright for published photos and for unpublished photos. Your question inspired the Dear Rich Staff to take a picture of a lovely dahlia blooming not far from Dear Rich headquarters. Now, if only we had time to stop and smell it.
Right, you had a question(s). (1) We consider all 11 of your greeting card images to be published works because you have distributed the cards to the public by sale or with the intent to transfer ownership. (If you had only displayed the cards or given them to a select group of people with restrictions, they would be considered "unpublished.") (2) You're on the right track by adding "approx" when providing date of publication. If you’re not sure, state your best guess -- for example, “October 14, 2011 (approx.).” (3) No need for two registrations. As the Copyright Office explains, you should be able to manage with one registration for a group of published photos.