191. Add Copyright Information
Before You Begin
183 Add a Text Caption or Label
44 Create a New Image
53 About Image Information
99 Move, Resize, Skew, or Distort a Layer
If you plan to share images that you create and photographs you have taken, you should consider copyrighting them. All the photographs you take are already your property and are protected by law. It is not necessary to fill out any forms or contact the U.S. Copyright Office before copyrighting your images. Still, the government isn't going to compensate you if someone steals your work, and because it's easy to protect your images against unauthorized use, why not do so?
The Editor provides two ways to protect your work. The first method involves typing a copyright notice in the File Info dialog box, as discussed in 53 About Image Information. The notice becomes a part of the file's metadata, and most graphics editors such as Photoshop and Photoshop Elements can read this metadata and display the copyright on the image's title bar when the image is opened. There are a lot of programs (including the Editor) that can not only view an image's metadata, but allow the user to change it as well. So, if you add a copyright notice in this manner, keep in mind that it's a simple public notice, and that it can be easily removed or altered.
The best way to protect your work is to add a notice that can't be removed because it's part of the image itself. To copyright your images in this manner, you'll create a copyright file that you can copy into each image you want to protect against misuse. To create the copyright file, you'll type the text you want to use for the copyright and apply the Emboss filter to give it a raised appearance. After pasting the copyright into an image you want to mark, you'll use the Hard Light blend mode to make the copyright see-through, like a watermark, Finally, you'll merge all the layers together, blending the copyright text with the image pixels permanently. This is the image copy you should share online because it can't be altered to look like it was created by someone else. A key here is to make sure that you place the copyright in an integral part of the image so that it cannot be cropped away and the rest of the image used anyway.
If you are a professional photographer, consider purchasing the digital watermarking plug-in provided by Digimarc Corporation. This plug-in provides a secure method of protecting your copyrighted images and tracking their use on the Web. However, because of the costs involved, this solution is not practical for most casual users.
A typical copyright includes the word copyright or the © symbol, the year the work was first published, and the claimant's name.
Create a New Image
In the Editor, choose File, New, Blank File from the menu bar or click the New button on the Shortcuts bar to display the New dialog box. Type Copyright in the Name box. Set the Width to 900 and Height to 300 pixels. Set Resolution to 300 pixels per inch (PPI), or whatever resolution you typically use for images you share or use online. Set the Color Mode to RGB Color. From the Background Contents list, select white. Click OK to create the new file. See 44 Create a New Image for more help.
Add Copyright Text
Select the Type tool on the Toolbox, choose a font and size and a dark Color. Click in the image and type the copyright text: Hold down the Alt key and type 0169 on the numeric keypad to enter the copyright symbol (©), and then type the year and your name. See 183 Add a Text Caption or Label for more information on adding text.
Create a Border
Click the Rectangular Marquee tool on the Toolbox. Draw a selection just inside the image border. Choose Select, Inverse to invert the selection. You now have a selection along the outer edges of the copyright image.
Select the Background layer on the Layers palette. Click the Paint Bucket tool on the Toolbox. Fill the selection with black.
Merge the layers together by choosing Layer, Flatten Image. The two layers are merged into a single layer called Background.
Add Embossing and Save
To give your copyright a raised appearance, apply the Emboss filter. Choose Filter, Stylize, Emboss. The Emboss dialog box opens. Typically, the default settings work just fine for this purpose, but you can adjust the settings if you don't like the look. See 189 Emboss Text for details. Click OK.
Click the Save button to save the image in PSD format. Use the filename Copyright.psd.
In the Copyright image you just created, choose Select, All and then Edit, Copy from the menu bar to copy the entire image to the Clipboard.
Open an image you want to copyright. Save this image in Photoshop (*.psd) format. Then select Edit, Paste to paste the copyright data onto a new layer in the image.
Change Blend Mode
Change the blend Mode of the copyright layer to Hard Light. The copyright is now transparent.
You'll want to position the copyright over some important part of the image that would be impossible to crop out, and yet not obscure the image so much that it's no longer enjoyable to look at. Balance your need to protect with your need to share.
Resize and Position Copyright
Click the Move tool on the Toolbox. On the Options bar, enable the Show Bounding Box option. Click and drag the copyright to move it into a good position on the image.
You can resize the copyright as well by dragging a corner handle. Make sure that you enable the Maintain Aspect Ratio option on the Options bar so that the text does not become distorted. See 99 Move, Resize, Skew, or Distort a Layer.
To apply a quick copyright to an image, type some text and apply the Clear Emboss effect. The result is a lot more subtle than what's shown here, and it may be easier to remove as a result, but it's quick and incredibly easy.
When you're satisfied with the image, save the PSD file. Then merge the layers together by choosing Layer, Flatten Image and resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image unflattened so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want. For example, you might return to the PSD file and resize it or change its resolution to fit your current sharing situation.
With the TIFF or JPEG image flattened, your copyright notice cannot be easily removed from the image, and you can share it online without worry. To copyright another image, keep your Copyright.psd file open and repeat steps 68.