Blogs and your images
Recently I had a request to buy a print from someone in the EU, I'm not pushing print sales at present due to logisticsm I was told it had been seen on a Blog. (Not sure that's 100% as I can't find that image on the blog but others from the same series have been used). The sale is now pending my printing
Initial my thoughts were image theft & hot-linking but actually the Canadian site gives full credits and links, so it is fair use, it's also a highly reputable site.
I've since discovered the site has used at least 5 or 6 of my images over the past 2 years, they are copied and usually resized & renamed so it's harder to be certain.
In the past I've found my images hot-linked widely and used in Blogs and other sites, I have a good system for Analysing my sites hits stats, which is quite revealing.
It's important to keep an eye on your sites logs. We can't get stats on APUG of how many visit our own sites from say the Portfolio section here, but the figure is far higher than I'd have guessed, hot linking shows up too, and Referring Sites and there pages are particularly important, they affect your own sites ranking with Google etc.
I'm not totally sre how you police your own images and their use on other internet sites, I've had a policy stated on my sites for at least 5 years that I'll grant free non commercial use on request, and have threatened legal action on about 3 occasions, the last about 5 years ago, which has always resolved the issues.
Unfortunately we need to be aware our images can & will be used by others and keep a watchful eye.
I can certainly empathize with you. Up until about a year ago, I was in the habit of positing many of my photos and writings on the WWW. I did this purely to share with friends and family. I explicitly stated that I would grant non commercial use but asked for the courtesy of a request from the user....and although I found my images linked in (mainly travel) blogs Never did I receive even one request!
I am not a photographer...well, not in the sense that you are. I do not do photography for money (if I did, I would probably starve!). I am just a nerd with a bunch of cameras and a love of...the process and sharing the results. I make a living doing software. Still, I was annoyed. Usually, I would simply ask the blogger to give photo credit. One travel company had used one of my photos of sunrise on the River Liffey on their home page steadfastly ignored my several requests to cease and desist...until I threatened legal action. I was flattered that they used my photo but, they didn't ask, and I figured that they should not be allowed to steal it (nor to use it for free).
I agree, it takes vigilance.
I wonder if a programmer could make up something that would watermark an image if the request was from outside your website (hot linked), but not if it was from within your website. How is that for an idea?
I don't get too worried about images that get used unless someone is trying to make money from it, but given the type of images that I have online I doubt that it would happen. I think too many people are worried about it and it hurts them. I don't think too many images are stolen at this point, especially when there are so many places like Flickr where people give images away.
I don't really worry about it but....
1) it is rude to not even bother to ask when I've stated up front that "all ya gotta do is ask".
2) Although, I do not have to sell photos to feed my family and pay rent, other people do. It would be not be very sporting of me to give away my photos and potentially, deprive a photographer from making a sale.
It's sort of doable, but to do it right would require control of the web server, not just of your own files.
Originally Posted by patrickjames
There's an easy way to do it based on checking the referrer---instead of having a link to the image file, you have a link to a little script, which returns the watermarked file if the referrer is offsite and the "clean" one otherwise. This will work as long as (1) there *is* a referrer (the client is not required to provide one, and many ad-blocking plugins and so on prevent it from doing so or provide a fictitious value---thus a hit could falsely appear to "come" from onsite), and (2) the viewer doesn't figure out the URL of the real image file (a knowledgeable viewer can essentially always do this, though you could make it pretty difficult).
To do it perfectly, you would have to intercept the request at the server. I think this isn't too hard to do if the server is your own, but your ISP won't let you do it with their server, as a general rule.
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Providing a watermarked (or clean) image based on referrer is very easy to do, it requires about 3 lines of PHP. Clean version will not be obtainable through the web server by direct request.... but it's pointless. If someone wants to steal your image, they'll look at it within your webpage (or do a screengrab), save the file and host it themselves. Referrer-checking only solves bandwidth-theft, i.e. where an image hosted on your machine is embedded in someone else's page. That's a minor side-effect compared to the whole passing-off problem (theft of your IP, not your bandwidth).
Currently this thread is about copyright and theft of images, and is within the scope of APUG. Most photographers have websites, even the analog ones, and this is a pertinent issue concerning the marketing, presentation, and sale of analog images by traditional photographers, so unless it turns the wrong way, it's fine.
Thread moved to "Presentation and Marketing," where such things as web presentation of analogue photography are usually discussed.
Don't worry about such. No one wants mine.
Personally, I think the topic is purely digital and off-topic for APUG. Just my opinion. But if the moderators are going to allow it, my question is this: should photographers imprint all their photographs with some kind of watermark with a copyright statement before uploading to Flickr, the APUG gallery and other websites? If so, how is that done? Can it be done in iPhoto or Photoshop Elements?