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  1. #1

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    Protecting images on the Internet

    What's the easiest way to copy-protect images on a website?
    Thanks,
    Chaim

  2. #2
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaim
    What's the easiest way to copy-protect images on a website?
    Thanks,
    Chaim
    There is no way you can successfuly do it without destroying the viewability of the image, or without embedding it into something like Flash (not a good idea). My advice, don't worry about, if someone wants a 72dpi image at a few pixels wide or high let them have it.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Agreed. If the image is viewable, it can be captured. Keep it small so it isn't worth too much other than as an image viewable on a screen.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  4. #4

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    I concur with roteague, but I'll add that even embedding the image in Flash will just be an annoyance to anybody who wants to copy the image, rather than real protection for the image. If a user can see it, the user can copy it. Period. Keeping the image small enough for screen display, and therefore too small for making good prints, is your best hope of protecting images that are intended for display on anything but a computer screen.

    One caveat, though: I've occasionally seen people scale images for the Web by using HTML coding features to set the image size, but the Web page points to an unscaled image. This will indeed produce an image on the screen that's the desired size, but the Web browser downloads the full-size image, and anybody can then do whatever they want with it. If you start with a big image, this has the added downside of being a much slower download with much more bandwidth consumed, on both the client and server sides.

    To keep the image small and unappealing for most non-Web uses, be sure to scale it to the desired size in Photoshop, the GIMP, or some other image manipulation program. Do not rely on HTML tags (coded by hand or via scaling features in a GUI HTML editor) to scale the image. Specify the image size in pixels, rather than inches or centimeters, to avoid confusion. In most cases, images for the Web shouldn't exceed 800 pixels in width, and smaller than that is usually preferable. Photos are most often stored as JPEGs, and you can probably compress them pretty severely, too. This will reduce bandwidth requirements at the cost of image quality. If the goal is to deter unauthorized use of your images, the loss of image quality can actually be a plus.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaim
    What's the easiest way to copy-protect images on a website?
    Oh oh, without getting too digital here.....Easy simple way is after you have done all your edits:

    1. Put your copyright on your image via a watermark layer
    2. Reduce your image size to something really small like 50mm x 50mm for a square image or 40mmx50mm for a rectangle - for example
    3. Convert it to sRGB
    4. Use "Save Files for Web", reduce your pixel size to no larger than 600x600 or thereabouts, reduce your quality to 60%

    This creates an image that is viewable on the net but is crap when someone tries to print it. There's no real protection you can make, just real inconvenience.

    Regards, Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  6. #6

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    Because it's impossible to keep people from copying your image, attempt to do so look amateurish, or make the photog looks like a over-protective computer illiterate.

    The advice above is generally good.

    Though
    1. Put your copyright on your image via a watermark layer
    ^ that is part of the amateur hour efforts. Watermarks are easy to remove with photoshop, and just reflect poorly on the artist.

  7. #7

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    this company

    http://www.digimarc.com/
    http://www.digimarc.com/mypicturemarc/

    allows one to imbed a digital watermark that tracks your images. stock-houses use this sort of thing to make sure their images aren't being used without their knowledge. they have several different ways to do it, and it isn't really that expensive.

    if you copyright your work, make sure you fill out the forms and register it at the copyright office in dc. just putting the symbol doesn't do much, and if someone grabs you work and uses it, without the registration from dc, you'll be outta luck.

    good luck!
    -john

  8. #8

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    Digital watermarks are great, especially if aesthetically pleasing and properly placed. Another strategy that my web mistress uses for my site (www.orchid-photographer.com) is to partition the images so that one has to grab two or three files and reassemble them to get one image. Good advice to keep the files small and the resolution low (72 dpi).

    Charlie

  9. #9
    roteague's Avatar
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    Yes, this is just an exercise in frustration. I have images on my website that I encourage people to download - they are specifically sized to fit different size desktops, contain both copyright and website address. So, my web address is always on their desktops (unless they want to PS it out). I don't let the whole thing bother me.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr82bart
    Oh oh, without getting too digital here.....Easy simple way is after you have done all your edits:

    1. Put your copyright on your image via a watermark layer
    2. Reduce your image size to something really small like 50mm x 50mm for a square image or 40mmx50mm for a rectangle - for example
    3. Convert it to sRGB
    4. Use "Save Files for Web", reduce your pixel size to no larger than 600x600 or thereabouts, reduce your quality to 60%
    Steps #2 and #4 are redundant. JPEGs and other formats commonly used for photos on the Web are bitmaps whose size (in terms of image size, not file size) is measured in pixels, not millimeters or other physical size units. Size in millimeters (or whatever) is determined by a combination of the image size in pixels, the resolution (in dots per inch) of the output device, and optionally scaling done by software. Scaling the image in millimeters (or whatever) may or may not adjust the size in pixels; it could just set a flag in the file that tells software the intended size in millimeters, but this won't affect the actual size of the image in pixels, and the size in millimeters can easily be changed once an individual has the file. Thus, step #2 is at best redundant with #4, and at worst complicates matters and causes confusion. If done instead of #4, #2 could result in a false sense that the file has been degraded.

    Concerning step #1, AFAIK the JPEG format doesn't support layers. Photoshop does, but once you export the image as JPEG, it's all one layer. If done correctly, the copyright notice will be visible, but it won't be a separate layer.

    I'm not sure what the point of step #3 is. AFAIK it has absolutely no benefit from a "copy protection" point of view, although it might improve the color appearance of the image; I really don't know.

    In sum, only step #4 has any technical value in preventing unauthorized use of your images, and that only by degrading the image to the point where it's useable on-screen but looks bad when printed. #1 has some legal benefits, but as others have said, for serious protection it helps to register with the copyright office. (In theory this isn't required, but having the registration will simplify things if you want to press charges in the event of a copyright violation.)

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