Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Protect Your Images From Being Stolen

While there are definite downsides to all of these solutions, here are some things you can do to help protect your work from being stolen on the internet.   Keep in mind the only failsafe way to keep your images from being stolen is to keep your images completely offline but this doesn’t mean that your clients will also abstain from uploading them.

1.  Digimarc.  It’s definitely NOT a cheap solution but it’s the best way to digitally watermark your images to keep track of them online.  The watermark can’t be removed with editing.  Check out their website for the details and pricing information.

2.  Watermarking.  While it’s been proven that watermarking is definitely not fool proof it is a deterrent as it is an extra step to take to make your image their own.  If they are determined, they will persevere but they may move onto another image that is easier to make their own.  The harder your watermark is to remove, the harder it is for them to steal the image.  This also allows a potential client to easily find you if your image is found somewhere that isn’t your website (i.e. Pinterest or Facebook).  Keep in mind that if the watermark is small and in the corner it may be easily cropped out.

3.  Use Flash.  Of course, there are definite downsides to this method, but it is not as easy to steal images from flash websites because you cannot right click and flash based websites are not able to be crawled by Google meaning any images on your website will not make it into Google Images' databank.  Of course you can screen capture but again, it is a deterrent.  
4. Don’t Allow Pinterest.  Pinterest is second only to Google Images as a place that thieves find work.  You can opt out of allowing Pinterest to source your webpage but of course, this doesn’t mean that someone won’t still pin an image there.

5.  Register Your Copyright.  For $35 per image or $65 per group (i.e. a wedding or portrait session) you can register your images with the US Government.  This won’t stop people from stealing your image online but if they are stolen you are entitled to higher damages should you chose to pursue it legally.   This comes into play when corporations resort to stealing images, which has begun to become a trend.

Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista, travel nut, deal hound, photo theft evangelist (she runs Photo Stealers) and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.

2 comments:

  1. re: copyright filing: for $35 online, you can file a collection of thousands of images in one filing, or just one, up to you. the wording is just kind of vagueish on their ecopyright website. costs more the old fashioned way with paperwork and snail mail.

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  2. Very informative and an absolute necessity in today's world

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