Here is something rare. I’ve posted a high res version of a photo on the Web. Click on the above photo, and a high-res image will appear in a new window. You can then right-click on the large image to download it to your computer, where you can use as your desktop image or as a screen saver. I am using this image for my desktop image and thought you might like to as well.
Copy Protection Plan A: Only post low-resolution images.
The simplest safeguard against people copying an image, and the one I follow, is to only put low-resolution images on the Web. That way, if someone copies the image, they haven’t copied much.
That’s what is so unusual about me posting the above image in high resolution. It has now lost most of its copy protection. In fact, I want people to copy it, and enjoy it, at full resolution. The image is still copyrighted 2012 Danny N. Schweers but I give permission to anyone to use it for non-commercial purposes, though they should include my copyright notice if they re-publish it.
Google Creates Its Own Galleries
A photographer, Beth Trepper, called yesterday, alarmed to find that Google had collected all her images in one search. You can see this for yourself. Do a Google search for “Danny Schweers” and then click on the “Images” link on the left. Hundreds of photos associated with me appear. Most are by me, some are of me, some are neither.
Beth Trepper had flagged the photos on her website so no one could right-click and download them. What she did not know is that anyone can copy them simply by doing a screen shot. And now, suddenly, Google is offering them up to the world in a context other than her website.
Can Google be told not to index her photos? I don’t know. Tell me!
Other Copy Protections Plans
Because almost all my photos on the Web are low resolution, I don’t worry about people stealing them. But some photographers worry. For them, the Google listing can help. Photographers can go through their Google search images one by one and see what websites are using their images. If someone is using an image without permission, or calling an image their own, action can be taken.
Images can also be protected using the www.Digimarc.com service. This plugin has been part of Photoshop for ages. The service embeds a nearly invisible mark on the photo so it can be detected if used. The folks at Digimarc then surf the length and breath of the Internet looking for images that have been marked. If it finds one, the photographer is notified.
Images can also be protected by typing a copyright notice over the image. This is heavy handed but works.
Here is what others say about protecting images against copying: