How do you protect your website images from theft?

Posted by | February 26, 2011 | News, Services, Websites | No Comments
Client's image I've recently completed a rebuild of a client's site at If you look at it you'll see the images on the site all sport a large watermark in the middle. My client has been the subject of image theft in the last twelve months, with his images appearing (along with all his text) on someone's else's site. His images and text have been stolen and his copyright violated. The thief had set up a site to sell very similar if not identical products. My client pursued the other company both with a local solicitor and one in the country where the thief's business is located, with pretty good results. I notice one of my client's original photos is still being used on the thief's site, but the website copy has been changed. My client isn't alone. The very nature of the internet is sharing information. In my previous post I talked about content farms, which take what's not theirs and blatantly repost it. So how do you protect what's yours? Putting the copyright symbol on every page, or even the word copyright on every page should theoretically protect you, however copyright laws vary slightly from country to country. In order to protect my friend at the Gel Ice company, I decided to put a large watermark on each image using a simple action I created in Photoshop. Watermarking is probably the most effective way to stop your images being used by the unscrupulous. I considered the following options first:
  • stopping viewers from right-clicking and downloading an image. Well, yes, you can do that, but people can still click on Print Screen and grab an albeit low res copy of your image. However as I'm using WordPress, that little bit of javascript isn't compatible with my system
  • using Digimarc digital watermarking. Again, there's the Print Screen option. And the truly devious out there know how to get around Digimarc should they download a Digimarc image
I could have put a watermark indiscreetly along the bottom of each image, but if anyone wanted to steal the image and use it, most of the images could be cropped without interfering with the key object in them - the gel ice pacs. So it was all guns blazing with the watermark. It ain't pretty by any means but if it protects my client's intellectual property, that's a good thing.  

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