Last year, a friend of mine and the mastermind of RGG EDU, Gary Martin wrote an open letter to Adobe Lightroom regarding image rights. In it, he said:

Photographers are creative right-brained people that need people like you to maximize their left brained work flow with software tools that keep us organized in a logical manner. We need you to help bridge that gap, and it’s a large gap, between the Lightroom catalogue and the United States Copyright Office.

Well, thanks to a new plugin from ImageRights (the same company Gary mentions later in that open letter), you can register your images with the US Copyright Office straight out of Lightroom, and it couldn’t be easier. How? A plugin made by the fine folks at ImageRights.

ImageRights International represents nearly 5,000 professional photographers and photo agencies worldwide to ensure that their intellectual property rights are protected and that they are compensated for their work.

ImageRights’ US Copyright Office Registration Plugin for Adobe Lightroom enables photographers to register their images with the United States Copyright Office directly from Adobe Lightroom. It will be available for free starting today. That said, use of the plugin does require that the photographer sign up for at least the free ImageRights Basic account.

ImageRights charges $69 or $89 per USCO registration filling depending upon the type of registration being submitted.  These prices are inclusive of the $35 or $55 eCO filing fee.

Photographers who upgrade to ImageRights Pro ($495/yr) or ImageRights Premier ($1,295/yr) accounts receive 3 and 5 (respectively) free USCO registration filings per year, respectively.  For a full description of what each service level provides, go to

This first version of the ImageRights plugin includes:

  1. An ImageRights Publish Service, such that LR image collections and the image metadata are synced with theirImageRights account.
    • This, along with some new metadata fields they have created, enable photographers to create smart image sets and smart collections to help them easily identify which of their photos are not yet registered, which are pending and which have been registered.
  2. New ImageRights metadata fields, including:
    • USCO Status
    • USCO Case ID
    • USCO Reg #
    • USCO Reg Date
  3. New Plug-in Extras
    • Prepare USCO registration for selected images (which initiates the USCO registration process directly from LR for the selected images)
    • Download USCO Status from ImageRights (which updates the aforementioned fields from #2 above and #4 below). There is also an “Undo download” function for this.
  4. Option to populate the IPTC Extension field named “Image Registry Entry”, where we insert a URL where the USCO registration information for the photo may be found, along with the Organization ID and Item ID (this is optional).  You can see these and the other fields from #2 above by selecting “ImageRights” from the drop down in the Metadata section (see screenshot below).
  5. ImageRights updates the Image Registry Entry field when the user runs the Download USCO Status from ImageRights plug-in extra from #3, which ensures that it is current with the image‘s USCO registration status.  This information is included when the photographer then exports that image for any purpose.  Then anyone viewing the metadata of the image can go to that URL to review the USCO registration information. Here is an example.
  6. Advanced image de-duplication options, which appear under the ImageRights Advanced Settings in the Publishing Settings and Export Settings windows.

After installing the app and creating an account with ImageRights, filing an image for Copyright Protection is as simple as checking a box during a Lightroom export. Seriously. That’s it. And that’s awesome.


ImageRights Copyright Registration in Lightroom

ImageRights Copyright Registration in Lightroom


Joe Naylor, President and CEO of ImageRights, explained to me how their team is able to handle a gigantic bulk of photos that would come in for registration via this new method.

We have developed advanced image search and image matching technologies, which are then integrated with our proprietary claim submission and case management systems. Our software filters, sorts and ranks the sightings so that the photographers are directed to review the most likely candidates for recovery first.  As a result, photographers and agencies submit thousands of infringement claims to us for assessment on every month.  


Our team then assesses the claims and provides recommendations as to whether or not we believe them to be pursuable (or best just to send a takedown notice).  If pursuable, we recommend which attorney partner we propose to send the case to and describe the terms that we have pre-negotiated with that firm.  The photographers then click to approve, decline or ask questions about the recommendation (virtually 100% approve).  

This is a huge step in getting more of us folks who want to focus on content creation to actually take that important step of protecting our work. There are countless examples of stolen photographs out there, and your legal ability to do anything about it is highly constrained without copyrighting your images. With ImageRights and their Lightroom plugin, it couldn’t be simpler.

For more information, head over to ImageRights.