The internet has made millions of things easier but some things more difficult.
Artists and photographers know this particularly well. While releasing some of their work to be displayed online they also run a risk of having it stolen.
“It’s been a huge problem for us,” said John Chester, owner of www.wildapple.com. Chester’s group focuses on helping artists protect their work from being stolen and used for profit. Chester says it’s especially a problem for artists who run the risk of their creations being stolen by companies in China that will use the images on things such as home decor, dinnerware, rugs and iPhone cases.
Photographers who post their portfolio in an online gallery can easily have those images copied by anyone who finds them on a simple Google search.
Chester suggests artists use a copyright mark embossed on the digital copy.
“Really use watermarking,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be on the whole image, but in the corner, or make it quite visible,” said Chester.
www.watermark.ws is a good source for photographers and artists. The free site allows someone to upload their work and create a watermark for it that can include their name, website or logo.
www.tineye.com is another good source for artists and anyone who posts their photos on Facebook or anywhere online.
The reverse image search asks for the URL of any image you’re searching for and will then search through billions of posted photos. TinEye will then show you everyplace the image is found online.
We tried it searching for an image of the New York skyline used first by National Geographic. We found it on several websites and used by at least one Twitter user as their cover photo.
Chester told us once an artist finds their work has been copied without permission, they should first contact the person or company using the photo and ask them to either take it down or pay a royalty.
If that doesn’t work he said an attorney may be necessary.
“If someone’s going to take your work and profit from it, that’s not legal, and it’s not right,” Chester said.