Let’s face it: It’s kind of rare nowadays to find a partner that won’t try to solicit a sext pic from you. Personally, I vote for being more creative with my sexts, as it’s an easy way to avoid revenge porn altogether. But damn our precious little hearts — even after carefully weighing the pros and cons, they still succumb to the basic notion that someone can be implicitly trusted and will never use that kindness against us.

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But we just don’t live in that world right now. We share our affections for each other through a text message, and then turn around and show how scorned we feel all over the Internet. And as revenge porn becomes a growing problem in today’s digital landscape, where more and more scorned lovers are sharing explicit photos that were sent to them in confidence from a partner, the legal options to protect victims are still practically nonexistent. Except for one slightly crazy but totally viable option.

I sat down with intellectual property lawyer and creator of IPRookie.com Gloria Steinberg and discussed the idea of copyrighting your intimate photos. It’s been a heated subject in her professional landscape, and it’s a problem that really begs for a sound solution.

By copyrighting your photos, Steinberg says, you set yourself up for success at a federal level. You step out of the interpretation of the Fourth Amendment and get clear guidelines for copyright infringement on your side. And since tort cases operate on a state-by-state case, in which there is still a great lack of any “adequate legal remedy," victims can benefit from laws that protect the unlawful sharing and reproduction of the photo.

Why it’s important

“I think this issue is more than just about revenge porn,” explains Steinberg. “This is about protecting our body and our privacy. Just yesterday, I watched a clip of Erin Andrews testifying in her civil case against Nashville Marriot in 'Peeping Tom Case.'" Even though Andrews was talking about a stalking case, Steinberg thinks a lot of what she said also pertained to revenge porn.

“It was really poignant when she said, 'My naked body was on the front page of the New York Post. They had put bars over my body parts . . . my girlfriend was calling me, telling me she was running around New York City, throwing coffee on all the papers because she felt so bad. It’s just crazy."

How copyrights protect you in this case

“If you copyright a naked photo of yourself, then you have the exclusive right, and therefore, you can prevent others from copying, licensing, selling, renting, and/or distributing photos of your naked body,” says Steinberg. “Copyrights offer copyright owner(s) the exclusive right to make copies, license, and distribute a literary, musical, or artistic work (generally), whether in print, audio, and/or video format (has to be in a tangible medium).”

So basically you become the sole owner and decider of how that photo lives out there in the world.

How to obtain a copyright

“Technically, you can obtain a common law copyright protection immediately upon creating your work,” she says. “This means that once you take a naked picture of yourself, you own the copyright to that photo.” But to protect yourself even further in a court of law, you have to take an even bigger step. Steinberg insists that “registration with U.S. Copyright Office is very important for enforcing your copyright rights and it is generally a prerequisite to an infringement action. To improve your chances of protection, quickly register for a copyright as soon as a work is created and before any infringement occurs. You can fill out your application online at the Copyright Office website www.copyright.gov.”

Once you file your application, it will be examined by the examining staff at the Copyright Office. This process can take approximately eight to 13 months. You can expedite the examination process if there is pending litigation, but you will have to pay a hefty fee for it. “If your application registers, it's also important to maintain your registration and keep an eye out for potential infringers,” she warns. Which, I mean, unless you’re, like, Selena Gomez, I’m not sure how many times people will google your name + vagina, but it seems like a better alternative to being completely powerless in a court of law.

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Will anyone see this picture?

So here’s where you might have to muster up a bit of bravery. “The Copyright Office's examining staff will see your pictures as part of your application,” she says. “And any member of the public can see when your picture is recorded at the Copyright Office.” To get a glimpse of the information that would be online, you can hop over to the copyright search page and see for yourself.

If it leaks out, who can you sue? The person who leaked it?

“You will have a cause of action against the infringer under 17 U.S.C § 501(a) for federal copyright infringement, which include unauthorized reproduction and/or distribution of the copyrighted work, as well as creation of derivative works of the copyrighted work,” says Steinberg. (Ka-ching!)

“As a plaintiff, you will have to show either direct copying nor indirect copying. Under 17 U.S.C. § 504(c), statutory damages can range between $750 to $30,000 for all infringements involved in the action, but damages for willful infringement can be up to $150,000.”

While it’s a bit of an aggressive save, Steinberg thinks it could make a big difference should you have to take legal action against a scorned lover. “In this day and age, when information travels so fast and you can't quite contain anything that is on the Internet, it's more important to be vigilant about protecting ourselves and enforcing our rights and what recourse we have. As a lawyer, that's the best I can do.”

What do you think? Despite sexting abstinence being the best policy when it comes to protecting your privacy and the image of your body, do you think that copyrighting the image of yourself is a good idea? Let me know!

Breonna Rodriguez is a Founding Creator and love and relationships blogger. When she's not writing for Vivala.com, you can find her at zenfulie.com.