Concerns About Web Publishing?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Markus Albertz, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. Markus Albertz

    Markus Albertz Member

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    Dear all,

    Having sold quite a few prints (mostly to friends and friends of friends) since I started selling prints about a year ago, I decided to launch a website and make my photography available to a wider audience (tentatively planned for early 2005). However, I am quite concerned that some internet pirat might come along, grab my images and market them elsewhere (<- this may sound naive but these are real concerns that I have). Do others have similar thoughts on copyright violation issues? How do you go about this? I am thinking of publishing images at only very low resolution and even include some kind of watermark that practically renders the image unusable and so one would have to purchase the original print. My concerns are also the reason that I have not yet shared my images on this or other websites although I would love to do that. I look at photographs on the web quite frequently and feel a little guilty about not contributing anything except asking questions. Anyway, I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Best wishes,

    Markus
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I have quite a few images on my website. Watermarking them is a good idea, or include your copyright as others have done. I personally don't find much issue with someone pirating my images; the ones on the web are all fairly small and low resolution.

    As an idea, check out how Nicole watermarked her images; the marks are visible, but not obtrusive. www.nicolemcgrade.com.au
     
  3. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Markus, your fears are well founded. There is too much piracy now and the internet makes it easy. Use only low resolution images which are small. Use a prominent watermark and copyright notation. Have your prints registered for copyright protection, or legally there is no way to collect on a wrong. Do a clip off of a corner which makes the image less than complete and perfect. Too bad you can't attach or inbed a virus to each one for those who are less than scrupulous.
     
  4. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Markus,

    I wouldn't worry about it if I were you (and I don't worry about theft from my own site too much). You should never worry about things you can't control.

    Only show images which are no more than 600 pixels on the long side and all anybody could use them for is a wallpaper on their PC. If someone tries to print them, they will get a 2 inch print at 300dpi.

    A 500 pixel image is a good compromise between quality and security. If you don't offer a good size image to see on the screen, you're less likely to sell over the internet. (In fact, Australia's biggest selling landscape photographer, Ken Duncan, let's you download really BIG files from his site so you can assess just how good they are!)

    High online image quality is also the reason I strongly disagree with placing an intrusive watermark on the image. You want people to see that you're proud of your images and not harbouring paranoid tendancies.

    Security measures only stop honest, computer-illiterate people stealing your images: show me any viewable image with a watermark and within 30 minutes I'll fire it back to you in a printable state without a watermark. (I'm neither honest nor computer illiterate .... :smile:) Basically, if someone can see it on their screen, they can steal it. It's up to you to decide if you want anybody to see your work or not. But remember, if they can't see it, they won't buy it.

    Since you can't control what happens to your images, stop worrying about them and get on with the job of selling them. I've got large images on my site and they do no harm at all to my print sales: they measurably enhance them.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Scott Edwards

    Scott Edwards Member

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    I have been showing my prints online for a couple years now. The important thing to remember is that you own the negative. Copyright infringement happens all the time, and with recourse, it is encumbent upon the damaged party to supply specific evidence of damages. This, of course, is extremely difficult in most cases. At most in incidental cases, you can only get the person to stop using your image.
    I sincerely doubt that anyone could win a competition with a pirated image of 6 inches. One may just as well copy an image from a book. As far as using the image to gain entrance into shows and galleries, well again they would need to provide the original, or an enlarged version.
    I look at it this way. If it comes down to dispute about who owns the image, then at least on this site, it is you, hands down (negative in hand). If somebody wants to print what will amount to a poor resolution on paper from his screen and pawn it off as his (or hers), then I fear that the culprit will not fare too well, especially when asked to provide a bigger image. Then of course, there is always website copy protection. You can program your site to be exempt from right-click and edit functions.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Which can be easily defeated.
     
  7. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Attempting to defeat right-click is a real annoyance to many people, and is ineffective at preventing someone from saving a copy of the image, as has been discussed here before.

    I agree with Graeme's approach - make it easy for people to appreciate your work by displaying the image at a decent size, but one that is too small for any commercial use. After all, it's unauthorized commercial use that copyright is intended to protect against. Although I put a non-intrusive copyright notice on the Web versions of my images, I don't consider someone saving a copy for reference to be a copyright violation. As noted, however, (in the U.S. at least) registration is essential to being able to collect damages in the event of unauthorized commercial use.
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I really don't worry about it, I place a non-intrusive copyright on the image and then make is small enough resolution that the most they can get out of it if printed is about a 4 x 6 print, I mean think about it....

    1. Do you sell 4 x 6 prints?
    2. If you do, how much income do you get from them?

    The majority of internet photo copying is for backgrounds and perhaps small prints printed on an ink jet printer to show friends or family this awesome print they found on the web.

    Actual internet photo theft for profit is really very small and I have been displaying on the internet for almost 10 years now, I did for a while use the digimark system, which can turn out quite expensive, but it allowed me to track when and where my images were being used, I do a lot of websites for fellow photographers and it really has not been a concern for anybody, due to the low resolution of the internet.

    I would say, put a copyright on the images and get your website up and running so all can see how good you are.

    Dave Parker
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I also have taken the additional step of providing some of my images already sized as desktop images for download (with my web address and copyright of course).
     
  10. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Especially if you use a Mozilla browser.
     
  11. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    nasty right-click preventer

    I stumbled on a right-click preventer javascript today. It puts a screaming box that runs around the screen with instructions to press 'x' to get rid of it.

    The 'x' is the keyboard letter x, not the close-window X at top right.

    Good for a laugh, but probably should warn people if you want them to ever come back to your site :O)

    http://www.fffast.com/scripts/script_nrc_screamer.shtml
     
  12. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Worse than I thought. You have to let it stop running and screaming (it will after one lap around the screen), and click the specific 'x' in it's popup box.
     
  13. dsisaacs

    dsisaacs Member

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    A simple way to stop most people from saving a copy of your images is to create a clear transparant .gif file and layer it on top of your images. Right click to save will save the blank gif to their hard drive. Of course there are ways to get past this but if your image is 72 dpi and 5-600 pixels wide there really is not much to print from.

    Another option is to link to a high resolution segment of the image to show the quality available in the actual print.
     
  14. Shane Knight

    Shane Knight Member

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    Hello Markus,

    I thought hard about the theft thing for along time before I posted my web-site.

    I have found out over the years that you will gain more business and better business relationships by trusting in people. I am sure that my images get stolen here and there from websites and scans but I don't lose sleep on it because the people that steal from me are not going to give me any money anyway. All they will have is some crappy little picture that they can put on the fridge at home.

    Make it easy for the honest people that are going to put the food on your table or as I put it "butter on the bread."

    I do many art shows and presentations, with that said, a website is essential these days. You are not going to make much money on it, but it will help tremendously.

    Don't loose any sleep. Instead wake up early so you can take good pictures in the morning!!!

    Good Luck!!

    Shane Knight
    www.shaneknight.com
     
  15. pharquarx

    pharquarx Member

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    All of these suggestions are good. If I may offer one additional tactic that I (I should really say, my web mistress) uses is on the images and thumbnails, not only are they small and low resolution, but the images are also split. The way that she built it was to partition the images so that if someone wants to lift an image they have to copy two or three segments and then paste them together. It doesn't yield a real useable image.

    On the larger images, they retain the low resolution (72 dpi) and are effectively watermarked. Doesn't seem to detract or distract those end users that come to my website, www.orchid-photographer.com, for legitimate purposes.

    Charlie
     
  16. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Listen to Graeme Hird.

    The only way to come close to making your images unable to be downloaded is making them part of a Flash movie. And even then you've prevented most, not all people from stealing it. Of course, you've also annoyed a lot of people who can't/won't install Flash.

    Watermarks make your image look cheap, at the same time as overstating their value. It also displays your internet ignorance, as anyone who has used Photoshop for more than 10 minutes can easily remove the watermark.

    Since this is APUG, I'll assume you have a negative. And I'll also assume your prints for sale are of higher quality than a ink-jet JPEG. Are the customers of your prints really the same people as those who would take a less than pristine image, ink-jet it and hang it above their computer desk with scotch tape?

    Don't worry about it. Just worry about posting good images.

    -j
     
  17. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    markus --

    if you are worried about copyright infringment, send gang registrations of your images to the copyright office in washington dc. they require a contact sheet and jpg's of the images you want to register. it cost 30$ every time you do it, and you can do 3 months of images at a time.

    having the original negatives or watermarked files is great, and even putting © next to your name is fine too, but if you were ever going to go after someone in court for damages, without the registration of these image, you probably won't get far.

    don't be under the false impression that your photographs are automaticly copyrighted at the click of the shutter (or whatever mode of creation is being used) ... without that piece of paper that says " it really is registered" you will be fighting an uphill battle..

    good luck!
    -john
     
  18. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I will often use FireFox for browsing APUG galleries for that reason; the right-click function has been disabled in the gallery. Since, I use the right mouse button continually to navigate, I find this a major irritant. So, I use FireFox to get around it.
     
  19. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    One of the things I have done on my web site is to arrange my major portfolios as Adobe Acrobat files. Using Adobe security I can block users from copying, printing or extracting the images.

    If you download the Acrobat files (and I wish you would) you can see the images, full screen, fairly good resolution and see the presentation of a complete body of work.

    It's a pretty good way to share work and protect the image use.
     
  20. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Joe,

    It took about 30 seconds to copy your acrobat image. If you'd like I can send you a copy from your Dunes pdf.

    While PDF might be a nice way to deliver an entire portfolio in one shot, it isn't a very good method of protecting your work.

    When a website makes you jump through hoops (downloading acrobat reader) and doesn't achieve its intended goal (security of the image) it looks pretty amateurish.

    Flash is only a slightly better solution because the image is only on the screen for a short time. But even that just means you need to be quick.

    Any image that can be displayed on the computer screen can be copied by nothing more ingenious than taking a screen-shot. The only way to prevent this method of copying is to present a poor image that isn't worth copying. And that represents your work poorly.

    -j