In some situations, the phrase "Better late than never" is appropriate. Registering a piece of intellectual property is not one of them. While it might seem rational to be make the claim that a photograph, once taken, is a static piece of artistic expression. As such, it would seem logical to argue that any use of it without permission constitutes a violation of the photographer's work.
That is not necessarily true as one legal case highlights. And the lesson to glean from the matter, according to many legal observers, is that there is value for a photographer, or any creative individual, to establish an enduring relationship early with an intellectual property attorney to obtain legal protections from the outset and to defend them to the maximum extent allowed over time.