Hey Lane Hartwell, what about watermarking your images?

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to briefly bring up the case of photographer Lane Hartwell and her objections to having her photographs corraled and reused without attribution or payment.Citing that such practices muck with her livlihood, Hartwell has gotten a video that included one of her photos pulled from YouTube.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to briefly bring up the case of photographer Lane Hartwell and her objections to having her photographs corraled and reused without attribution or payment.

Citing that such practices muck with her livlihood, Hartwell has gotten a video that included one of her photos pulled from YouTube. And there's now a debate whether the appearance of one of her photos in said video was Fair Use, or some sort of infringement.

Although I would probably lean toward Fair Use, that's not the main point I want to raise here.

If you put up your photos on your Web site, it's just as easy for either an authorized or an unauthorized third-party to take your image.  You don't need to be a graphic designer to know how to do a right-click/Save Image As or a screencap utility to obtain the image.

But it seems to me that a photographer with Lane's degree of sensitivity toward having this done to her work might want to consider another option.

That option would be watermarking. In one application of this technology, the name of photographer or web site where the photo is originally posted visibly appears in the photo.

Engadget is just one site that does this often. Here's an example:

creative-inperson09-440.jpg

While watermarking does not technically or physically prevent an image from being grabbed or copied, (hey I just did) grabbing the image without consent likely would show the watermark.  And if a third party decided to grab the image anyway, the watermark would in most circumstances, show and bear visual testament to unauthorized use.

In some applications, authorized use requests could lead to removal of the watermark for permitted users. Barring permission, it is technically possible to Photoshop out a watermark, but it is a pain to do so.

So Lane Hartwell, my suggestion to you is you consider watermarking the photos you post. This would enable you to show your work, but offer a greater deterrence to those who might want to reuse your work without permission.

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