First up, this isn’t legal advice. I’m not a lawyer. Seeking the advice of a copyright lawyer is something you should do if you need anything more than a quick overview of this stuff. Also this is specific to the US Copyright law.
Why should I bother registering copyright?
There are some things everyone gets told when they start camming. How to DMCA your stuff if it gets posted online, how to slap a watermark on things etc. The prevailing wisdom I personally had received the first 7 years of camming was that when you create something it automatically has copyright so there’s no need to register copyright. The first part of this is true. The moment you create something the rights to it immediately belong to you. So why would you put your porn into a govt database?
Registering copyright does a few things. These are the ones I think are relevant to camming:
1. Establishes a public record that you are the owner of the work. This can especially be helpful with DMCA claims.
2. Enables you to sue infringers in federal court.
3. If you register copyright before or up to 3 months after you publish your content you are entitled to seek statutory damages and attorney fees in federal court. These can be SUBSTANTIAL amounts of money. Without registration, you can only get actual damages and loss of profits and these can be quite difficult to prove. As a content maker, it is likely an individual video or photoset being ripped off is not going to lose you enough in profits to be worth suing for damages without copyright.
Isn’t registering copyright for everything I make expensive and time consuming?
Here’s the thing I wish someone told me 7 years ago:
You can register your content in groups, and because you only need to do it within 3 months of publishing the content this means you only need to do ONE group registration every three months. The standard application is $55. Do this quarterly and this means you’re out $220 a year and your ass is covered.
But won’t this mean anyone can look up my real name with the copyright office?
For once, this ONE time the govt actually protects your identity. Amazing right? On the application form for the copyright you can put in your stage name and identify it as a pseudonym. More specific information about how to do this here:
Sold yet? Ok here’s how you do this.
How to register group copyright on your video content:
- Go to https://www.copyright.gov
- Click “Register” at the top left on the page.
- Click “Log into the Eco (Electronic Copyright Office) Registration System”
- Under the User Login on the left side click the very tiny blue text that says “If you are a new user, click here to register.”
- Register your legal information. As long as you register a pseudonym on your actual copyright applications your personal information is safe.
- Once you’re logged in, in the left side menu click the “Standard Application” on the left side and click begin registration at the top
- Select Motion Video/AV work under the “type of work” drop down menu.
- Under titles just keep adding everything you’ve created in the last three months.
- Continue through the process step by step. It’s fairly self explanatory just remember when you get to Author to make sure you click the Pseudonym check box and enter your stage name to protect your information.
- When you’re done click add to cart, pay and then you can upload your work. It is suggested that you ZIP your files. The max file size is 500MB so if your files are larger than that you’ll need to break them up.
Tip: As I create videos I simply add them to a Copyright folder. I folders labeled with the year and quarter. I create another folder and add videos as they’re created. When I notice the folder has close to 500MB of content I make a zip folder and start a new folder.
A few cautions…
- The tricky part isn’t registering the copyright, it’s finding the person who you need to sue.
- Photographs are able to be registered on a standard application but not ‘collections’ of photographs. For this reason if you register photos through a standard application you’ll need to give each one an individual name and title or you can use a separate copyright registration for a photo collection (which will up your cost).
- This is obviously for US models. If you create works outside of the US while traveling you should still register them with the US copyright office.
- If anyone would like to provide information on how to register copyright for models in other countries please get in touch! I’d love to add this info.
- These instructions only concern works you hold copyright for. I am not sure how to handle recorded streams (which I think camsites technically may own). You should check with a lawyer.
Hope this helps you protect your smut a little better!
Editing to add info for other countries as it is sent to me.
Australia does not have a copyright registration process: http://www.copyright.org.au/ACC/Find_an_Answer/FAQ__How_do_I_register_/ACC/FAQ/How_do_I_register_for_copyright.aspx?hkey=b737f340-d120-4194-85fb-a6f3b415c66f