How to Protect Your Photos from Theft
Technology has brought a myriad of advancements in the photography industry. The digital era allows photographers to see their pictures as soon as they are captured. Some adjustments can be done inside the camera, while others in a digital darkroom, such as Corel PaintShop Pro or Adobe Photoshop. The world wide web has opened up lucrative opportunities for photographers to present and sell their work on websites that can be viewed from smartphones, computers, and tablets. Together with benefits for photographers, the Internet likewise provides opportunities for intellectual property thieves. Photos and images are being stolen from websites every day. They are used to make a profit by someone else other than the owner. Watermarking photographs that are placed online is the best way to prevent theft.
Why are images stolen?
Some people assume that every photo uploaded online is free to take, but the rest of them know better. Everybody is looking for a way to make some extra money and some resort to using images produced by other people to create products in on request print shops.
A lot of companies offer printing services for mugs, shoes, tote bags, calendars, greeting cards, and many other products. The objects are then sold to the person who uploads the images for a fee. Unprofessional freelancers are taking photographs from websites and digital portfolios and uploading them to on-demand print companies and making money from the hard work of someone else.
Is it worth chasing image and photo thieves?
During most of the holidays, photography calendars were very popular items, and some small print shops are searching for location-themed images online to print calendars to sell to companies within their group. Normally such calendars are printed with the business name. To avoid having to pay a local photographer, newspapers and magazines have lifted photos from the Internet. The sad reality is most photographers can't afford to sue anyone without permission for using their photos. Because intellectual property is patented the instant it is created, if you want to reclaim the financial loss, you must go to court and prove it is yours. Several people are stealing photos for advertising to their sites or using them as screen savers. They don't use them for financial benefit, but they still do it without any of the photographer's knowledge or permission.
How can you protect your work?
Don't get frustrated about stolen pictures. Resist the temptation to stop posting your photo online. You'll lose sales opportunities and the chance to build your brand name. Watermarking the image is the common-sense approach which is becoming popular for the thievery. There are many ways that photographers who have graphic design programs and expertise can create an important watermark.
The importance of watermarks
If you're using Adobe Photoshop, you can make a personalized watermark brush that's saved that can be used for all your photos, and you can watch a demonstration on how to create it at PHLEARN.com. Digital guides from Corel PaintShop Pro and Gimp also show ways to create appealing watermarks. Many photographers type their name on their photographs in capital letters, but this may appear confusing, inappropriate and unprofessional.
What if you don't have a graphics program?
If you've never used a graphics system other than what your computer and camera software does, the online watermark programs can still secure your images. From a wide variety of templates, you can select and choose your theme, color, and font, or you can follow the instructions to build your own. It is simple, it is quick, and it is inexpensive. In just minutes, you can be shielding your lovely images.
Prevent piracy of images using resolution and scale
One of the first and simplest steps, any photographer can take when it comes to protecting images from photo theft is to reduce the resolution and size of their photos when posting online. The Copytrack Global Infringement Report found that images with a 16:9 aspect ratio were most likely to be robbed while Full HD or 1920x 1080 pixels were the most common format for image theft in 2018.
A good start will be to post your images in an aspect ratio and resolution other than Full HD if you are looking for an easy way to dissuade possible photo thieves. To protect their work, photographers may also use semi-transparent or opaque watermarks. The last thing most thieves want to do is take the time and energy to erase watermarks, instead of simply finding a different, unwatermarked file. If you do watermark your pictures, it's important to ensure your watermarks are sufficiently prominent not to be easy to expel.
Photographers may also opt for the barcode Digimarc or the undetectable watermark. These hidden watermarks act as digital forms of image copyright security by incorporating information about copyright directly into images themselves while maintaining the information invisible to the human eye. For image owners, it becomes a win-win, as they can upload their photos without requiring an obvious watermark. While an invisible watermark will not always help to prevent theft of photographs, it will make it much easier to trace images once they have been taken.
Making it painfully evident that your work is copyrighted
Another common method is to make it loud and clear that your pictures are proprietary on your page, use wording throughout the document that states all the work is copyrighted. If you really need exceptional licensing to use your images, ensure it is clearly displayed so that every online user can see that they are not allowed to take your photos without purchasing licenses.
It can be helpful to add a clear warning that means you're going to chase down your photo's unlawful usage — and that it can lead to serious fines for the guilty. The starting point for fines in most countries is the expense of the initial license per file— and in some cases, additional charges may be added on top. Of example, if someone were to use one of the pictures on a business website, you might argue the business owner took advantage of the advertisement and try to add a proportion of those earnings to the fine, plus legal and court expenses.
Will it guarantee complete security?
While letting people know that your work is copyrighted will not automatically guarantee complete security against image stealing, it will help inform others who might otherwise have inadvertently stolen their images. And, you never know — clearly showing your use criteria could even lead to additional licensing of your photos.
Another quick step to take is to name the owner of the copyright and the image source itself. When applying this detail to the lower margin of the frame, for example, it is made perfectly clear who holds the image rights and where the photo came from. It holds true even if the photos can be found somewhere other than the page, making it clear once again that nobody is entitled to use these pictures.
Identification of stolen images for copyright and post-licensing
Although this approach does not ensure immunity from the act of image piracy itself, it is helpful to sign up for copyright protection when you need to back up your copyright claim in court. Having the photographs licensed by a district court or notary will provide you with the requisite evidence to prove that you are in fact, the one who owns the copyright for a particular image. When you sign an image, you will receive a certificate clearly demonstrating that you are the legitimate copyright owner.
How do you obtain a copyright license?
Obtaining a copyright license is easy enough: Generally, any photographer could always go to a site such as copyright.gov to protect their photos. But there are new ways to get this done in 2020, such as using blockchain technology. For example, copyright registry firms such as Concensum provide a complicated alternative for those around the world who want to claim a copyright for their pictures. Their worldwide register of intellectual property is specifically designed for photographers who want to preserve their images, using blockchain technology to anonymously store uploaded photos and data about the copyright owner and the licensing benefits.
As any photographer probably knows, posting pictures without getting them compromised at one point or another can be next to difficult. That is why one of the vital things, you can do to secure your job is to guarantee that you have an action plan for when you are becoming a victim of online image stealing.
How to know if someone has been using your images
Luckily there's a way to get the rightful compensation you deserve for your stolen pictures. You can use a range of services to figure out if someone has been using your images online without your consent, such as Google's reverse image check, or web-crawling apps that actively scan and trace your photos so you can be notified as soon as a hacker inappropriately uses your images. When you know that your photographs are being used without consent, you will take legal action to make claims for your stolen pictures and get back money that you deserve legally.
Disable Right Click
The most common method people steal your images is to access them online, right-click them, and save them to their own devices, and use them as they wish. But one way to hamper the process is to delete the photos of your pages by right-clicking.
How to turn off right-clicking?
Do not take chances with your pictures, as no one else will benefit from your work. Build a reputable watermark that will protect your images and foil the theft of intellectual property.
What do I do next when someone stole my photos?
Whether or not you have followed the preventive measures mentioned above, you may have your pictures taken. You may not even recognize your work has been replicated several times, but how do you react when you do? If a robbery happens and if so, what are your alternatives? Here are just a few to consider.
Often solving the problem is as easy as asking someone else or organization to delete your photograph. Policing your content is a time-consuming activity, but it is a way out of other ways to get your work done.
DMCA removal notice
Outlet appeals are usually accompanied by a takedown notice from DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which must include the name of the work, the location of the work, a declaration of good faith, a statement of authenticity and a statement that the author is the legitimate copyright owner.
Cease and Desist Notice: In situations where your work is being used without your permission, in compliance with the DMCA, you can submit a notice of cease and desist. Nevertheless, a report issued by the U.S. Copyright Office suggests such warnings only operate for the short term, because the other party can take away any physical evidence before any evidence has been collected. That is why it advises photographers to "make print screens, record as much as necessary about the mishap, inform website owners, the hosting company, and search engines in accordance with the DMCA" when taking this course of action.
Sadly, when it comes to maintaining the images online, there is still no ' one-size-fits-all ' approach. The unfortunate reality of the internet world is that photos and other content are thriving misused without proper authorization from their respective owners. Nothing will ever protect your material from being hacked by committed photo thieves; you can only discourage them. Through incorporating all of these above-listed image security methods, pirates would find it much harder to import and edit the images. It will also stop and prevent would-be-thieves in fear of potential penalties from stealing your images.