Lightroom-copyright-metadata-preset

Cloud-Based Lightroom Logo

I recommend adding copyright and contact information to your photos and videos so that when you share them with the outside world, the data automatically tags along with them and people can get in touch with you if they come across your photos and want to use them. Unfortunately the cloud-based Lightroom  (as opposed to Lightroom Classic) only enables you to add your copyright, but that’s most important and better than nothing. Note that the copyright won’t appear on your images – that functionality is called “watermarking” and is not (yet?) available in Lightroom .

The U.S. Copyright Office states that your copyright should take the form of “© YYYY Your Name” (e.g. © 2019 Laura Shoe), so at the beginning of each year I recommend updating the import preference that I discuss below with the new year, and making sure that you have added your copyright to all of your previously-imported photos. U.S. photographers: you should also register your photos with the U.S. Copyright Office – having added your copyright information to the photo metadata might not be sufficient to pursue a claim against someone who has stolen your photo.

Lightroom  Desktop

Copyright can be added manually to photos already in Lightroom, and automatically to newly imported photos going forward.

Adding Copyright to Photos Already in Lightroom

I recommend doing one year of photos at a time so that you can use the proper year in the copyright notice.

  • Go to Grid view (G).
  • Open the My Photos panel, if it’s not open already, by clicking on the books icon.

Select a year of photos in Lightroom CC

  • Expand the By Date section to show years by clicking on the sideways triangle to the right of By Date.
  • Select a year.
  • Select all photos in the grid – go to Edit>Select All or use Ctl-A on PC or Cmd-A on Mac.
  • Click on the i  in the bottom right to open the Info panel. When you place your cursor in the Copyright field the © symbol will be added automatically. Type in year your-name in the Copyright field (e.g. Laura Shoe 2019) and then hit Enter/Return. This copyright has been added to all photos that you selected.

Adding copyright to selected photos in Lightroom CC

  • Deselect all photos: Edit>Select None, or Ctl/Cmd-D. Don’t forget this step!
  • Repeat the process with all other years.

Adding Copyright to Newly Imported Images Going Forward

It’s easy to set up Lightroom to add your copyright to newly imported images:

  • Go to Edit>Preferences (PC) or Adobe Lightroom>Preferences on Mac
  • Click on General (UPDATE 2020: there is now an Import section – click on that!)

Set copyright preference in Lightroom CC

  • In the Import section, type year your-name (2019 Laura Shoe). © is added automatically.
  • Click on Done.

This will only apply your copyright to photos you import from now on.

Lightroom on Mobile Devices

In Lightroom on mobile devices you can add your copyright to newly imported images, and you can add it one at a time to images already imported. (I don’t recommend the latter if you also use Lightroom desktop or Lightroom Classic desktop, since in these applications you can add it to many or all photos at once.) Hopefully the ability to add information to multiple photos at once will come to Lightroom mobile sometime soon.

Adding Copyright to All Newly Imported Images Going Forward

  • On the main Lightroom screen (Albums view), tap on the gear symbol in the top right (UPDATE 2020: the three-dot symbol then Settings) to access Settings. Select General (UPDATE 2020: Select Import).
  • Turn on the Add Copyright switch. When you place the cursor in the Copyright field, © is not automatically added. At least on my iPhone there’s also no way to add it – it’s not in keyboard symbols and it can’t be pasted in from elsewhere. Instead use parenthesis – type “(c) year your-name”.