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Davis woman would do well to copyright rare bee sting photograph

University of California-Davis communications specialist Kathy Gravey estimates that she has taken more than one million photographs of bees in her lifetime, but until recently, she had never got a photograph of one in the act of stinging a person.

But not long ago, Garvey did get such a photograph, making it a picture that is literally one in a million. Now, that photo has won first place in a photography competition organized by the Association for Communication Excellence, a group of educators and information technology professionals.

So, if Garvey wanted to protect this rare and interesting photograph, what should she do? A good first step would be to talk with an intellectual property attorney about obtaining proper copyright protection for the photograph. Certain copyright protections attach without the creator doing anything at all, but cementing those protections and effectively leveraging them when it comes to selling or licensing the work takes some work, skill and specialized knowledge.

Garvey would want to copyright the photograph because until now, no one had ever gotten a photograph quite like hers; the only images of a bee sting that she has seen are drawings. Thus, she could probably make a decent income licensing the image to textbook companies, researchers or other educational outlets.

The same goes for any inventor, artist or creative professional. You may not think you need to secure your intellectual property rights yet, but it's a fact that it is best to stake your claim earlier rather than later. Don't let your success be ruined by something you should have done earlier in the process.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "UC Davis official's rare photo of bee sting captures 1st place award," Andrea Gallo, June 13, 2012

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