We already mentioned briefly in another article the reasons that brought me to decide to register the copyright of over 42.000 photos as a Group of Published Photos with Eco service of the Usa Library of Congress in a previous article and listed several useful resources.
So now it's time to get to the core of the procedure.
Of course I don't assume any responsibility on what you read here and in the next articles, it's just the story of my experience and you shouldn't take it as a legal opinion, but just as my personal experience.
Also consider that procedures and laws are continuously changing, so this guide might be obsolete in the moment you read it.
Since I have a very limited budget, I had to find a way to register as many photos as possible together: I eventually found out that there is the possibility to register a 'Group of Published Photos' with an unlimited number of images, if they respect a series of requirements (See Compendium III 1116.1 ).
In particular if you hold the copyright of all the photos and they were published in the same year.
So what I did was to search for all my recent (a few years back) photos that were not published yet, and published them all together. This might be a little bit confusing, so I repeat: basically I could register together photos taken during several years as a Group of Published Photographs if they were published in the same calendar year. You are allowed to register photos taken in 2013 and 2015 in example, if you publish them for the first time ever, in the same year, 2016 in my case.
That's where the possibility of registering 40.000 photos came from, let's say it was a legal trick.
So I repeat: what I did was to search for all my photos that were not published yet, and published them all together, in order to register them as published in the same year.
I could have registered them as unpublished also, but then I should have paid a filing fee for each year they were taken, and not for each year they were published.
The distinction between published and unpublished photos is one of the most unclear subject, so you should read a lot about that before applying.
What I did to be sure for my images to be considered as published, was to upload all of them in Flickr with a caption inviting to contact me in case of interest to acquire a license, plus I created a basic website with a photo gallery with all the 40.000 photos and the same caption, and made the website accessible on the same date. It doesn't matter the size of the photo you are publishing, it can be also a small preview, since you are registering the artistic work, not the specific size you have published.
As of today the fee to register a group of published photos is 55$.
But since registering a group of published photos in the Usa is a special procedure, you have to contact the competent department before starting your application and they'll assign you a tutor for the first time. You will also have a limit of a maximum of 250 photos for the first application. If everything goes well, from the second one, you'll have no more count limit.
So basically you'll have to pay 110$ in order to have the possibility to register an unlimited number of photos, that in my case meant about 0.002$ per photo.
For our budget of low cost travellers, 110$ still is quite expensive, about a month of life and travels for one person, but I thought it could be a good investment for the future.
Don't forget as I already mentioned that prices and procedures can change at any time and that my suggestions don't constitute a legal consultation, so I assume no responsibility for it.
And you should also consider that I just finished my application, but still not received any answer if it will be accepted: the certification is usually coming months later for online registrations (about 8 months) [On January 2017, I received the certification, the registration was successful!]. But my first registration of 250 photos was accepted and I already have the certificate. The procedure is the same, so I have no reason to believe that also this several thousands photos application will be accepted.
Check my next article to find out more about my workflow and some free software to register you Group of Published Photos.