i agree alan, darkroom work is as much photography, as the exposure in the camera
but unfortunately the copyright office only looks at the issue of exposure ( pressing the button ) .
i think of it like when devo did a cover of "( i can't get no ) satisfaction" .
their version KILLED ( the stones said it was better than theirs ) but, the stones still get paid.
oh well ...
its a great question, and i am imagining the legal calisthenics one might have to go through to make a courtroom
understand darkroom work, especially in a day and age when a button is pressed, and the camera is co-axed to a ink jet printer
and IT prints the photos without any darkroom ( or light room ) work at all ... i think a jury would be utterly confused ...