We all need to protect ourselves, in one way or another, and the Internet, as much as real life, is no exception. We shield ourselves with firewalls and anti-spy software, virus destroyers, spam filters and anything else which seems to be the fashion of the moment. Some are good and effective, some not.: we learn through, sometimes bitter and expensive, experience.
Much the same with photography: if you’re going to upload photographs to the web, and not set them as Creative Commons, there is a strong desire to protect your artistic property, even when what you have photographed has been captured and shared by countless thousands before you. Each image is a work of art, an individual and unique creation, so why take a chance?
Well, you took the chance you’d have your property stolen and used elsewhere as soon as you decided to publish it on the Internet. Someone, somewhere could have a strange interest in your snapshot, recreate it and, with perhaps a slight alteration – such as with Instagram postings – sell it for a high sum. You, as the creator, get to see nothing of the profits, none of the fame your image brings in.
Photo Source: Saad Akhtar – Creative Commons
The answer, for some, is to stick a watermark on the face of their image. Some do it decently, some obscure their work so effectively that the picture is useless. How many times have I seen a wonderful photograph obliterated, ruined by an almost transparent watermark? And then, as my image above suggests, there are those with highfalutin ideals who believe that even their worst snapshot is a work of art – which it might be to some, but we’re not all professionals – and they have to protect, have to stake their ownership.
I know all about the frustration of finding a photograph on the Internet which belongs to you, but has been used by someone else without your permission. On the other side, I also know the frustration of trying to find the owner of an image to see if it is Creative Commons or can be used for a post here, not always with success.
We live in a world packed with wonderful technological advances. If we’re prepared to pay good money to protect our computers, and our lives in the Real World, why not for protecting our images? Why not employ software with incorporates a hidden watermark and allows your works to be traced? Fine, a decent script watermark at the edge of an image works too, although these can be cut out, but real protection comes from hidden security, the type that isn’t expected, isn’t immediately obvious.
And it lets people see your works which, for all of us, is really the be-all and end-all of what we do, isn’t it?
- Viktoria Michaelis.