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How to protect your images

Preventing your images being copied is extremely difficult and much depends on the nature of your internet presence. Some measures can only be taken if you run your own website but there are things we can do to simply make our pictures less attractive to the copier. The following list of measures should have something for everyone.

  • Use low-resolution images – when preparing your image to upload to the internet make it fairly small. Images of 800 x 600 pixels are more than large enough to be seen on a monitor but won’t produce very large prints.
  • Be aware of where you’re uploading your images – before uploading images check out the security of the platform you’re uploading to. Sites like Facebook offer little protection, but some private forums offer good protection.
  • Apply a Watermark to your images – there are many image editing programs available that will add a visible watermark to your images which makes them less appealing to would-be-copiers.
  • Use a Digital Signature – like watermarks but invisible until the image is downloaded.
  • Disable the Right mouse button – clicking the Right mouse button over an image is the easiest way to ‘save’ the image to your own computer. This button can be disabled from visitors to your own website.
  • Use a hidden foreground layer – If you are making your own web pages then it’s possible to add an invisible image over the top of the real image. Anyone copying the image will only get the invisible top layer.
  • Block Screenshots – Again, this is only an option if you have your own website. Like disabling the Right Mouse Button so you can disable the facility to take a screenshot of your pages
  • Enable Hot Link Protection – which has been discussed on a previous page
  • Display a copyright notice if possible – positioned as close to the image as possible or a more general version referring to All Content similar to the one at the bottom of this page
  • Register the copyright to your work – Certainly not essential as your work is your work as soon as the paint is dry, but registering it can be helpful if you want to seek recompense for any proven theft.
  • Use an image protection service – there are many of these services on the internet and they claim to monitor your images, advising you when they get copied, and dealing with the removal of any unauthorised versions. Most operate on a monthly premium and can give peace of mind to anyone who is particularly anxious about their work

I am not an expert either technically or legally. I am offering guidance based on my own experience in the hope that others may find it helpful. The information is being provided in good faith and without recourse.