How to protect the photos you post online
Kate Russell's weekly review of the best apps and websites.
Copyright protection for digital content is a complex issue with no straightforward solution. Stipple can help you stay connected to your content by creating a unique fingerprint that stays with it wherever it travels within the website's network. There is the bonus that you can add interactive content to tell the story behind the image and get detailed analytics about views and shares.
Another tip to protect your intellectual property rights is to add a subtle watermark detailing ownership. Most editing packages will let you do this by adding a translucent layer - and you will find lots of tutorials online. If you want a quick and simple tool try Umarkonline.
Make sure you are clear about the terms for anything you post by linking it to a licence. Creative Commons licences are an easy, standardised way of detailing permissions so that no-one can claim ignorance.
If you think your images are at risk of copyright theft it is not a bad idea to run them through a reverse image search like Tineye every now and again. This site will trawl through the web detailing anywhere else the image is found.
A quick way to check a whole website is to run the address through Copyscape, which will tell you if any other web pages online are using the content posted on it.
You can achieve very similar results by running a simple image or text query through a search engine like Google.
If you do find a violation there are steps you should take to tackle it, rising in escalation depending on how the violator responds. The first step is to contact them directly. Keep it simple and non-confrontational. It could be they are not aware that they have done anything wrong and the matter can be resolved swiftly.
If you get no joy with the direct approach try contacting the web host or advertisers on the site. Inform them of the copyright infringement and ask them to act on your behalf.
Make sure you tell them you have tried the direct approach and add links to the infringing image and its original use on your page. If all else fails you might have to resort to legal action - but be sure the expense and stress levels are worth the effort to have your image taken down.
07 Mar 2014