... and it unfortunately looks like it is going to at this point, what can we do to protect ourselves without going to that worst case scenario?

One thought I had was, if it comes down to those friggen registries, registering my logo/signature. If the registries image recognition software is sophisticated enough, shouldn't it recognize my logo on ANY piece of art, meaning that I could get away with registering only that, and not every piece of art I do? Since my logo/signature ends up on every finished work I do (and soon every sketch I post on the net as well) shouldn't that alone come up as a postive hit if registered in every registry that pops up? I'd think registering one image multiple times is a somewhat reasonable approach given the options were likely left with.

The only down side is signatures tend to be used in an out of the way corner so as not to distract from the image. This means they sometimes get cropped out in publication, or they would be easy to crop out by someone looking to orphan my work.

Sigh, this is so depressing.