Guest blogger: Kim Bruce
Alyson’s recent article on Pinterest covers the crux of the debate over this relatively new image-sharing site. So, while we’re debating “to pin or not to pin,” let’s remember that there are other tools that can capture your images and strip out your name, your copyright . . . the works!
Did I just scare you? Good, let me explain…
Screen captures, snipping tools and many other utilities allow anyone to acquire your images. They are still vulnerable even if right-click is disabled, images are embedded with copyrights, and you have copyright notices on your website. This workaround also bypasses the “No Pin” code from Pinterest, which you can add to your site.
These “snipping tools” work for anyone to crop an image (or text for that matter) from any website, and save it as an entirely new image. Users are forced to provide a new name because your original name doesn’t come with the snipped or screen captured image. The default name for an image captured with Windows Snipping Tool is CAPTURE.JPG whereas Apple uses “Screen Shot” followed by the date and time and saves as a PNG file.
Not one iota of your title attributes or embedded copyright notice is attached to a screen captured image with, perhaps, the exception of any watermark included in the image.
Sure, the snipper has the opportunity to crop off your watermark; however, I suggest that most people are not malicious. They truly find your work inspirational. That is why they want to save your image in the first place.
I believe snippers will also save your image with the watermark included.
While naming and embedding your images with copyright notices works well when people are reposting your images to their own sites, it does absolutely nothing for screen-captured or snipped images. Nor does it work with social media sites that strip meta data from images posted.
A well-meaning person has captured your image and renamed it “inspirational-image-21.jpg” and it sits in a folder on her desktop.
The same well-meaning person gets a Pinterest account and creates a board called “Inspiration.” She opens the inspiration folder on her desktop and starts pinning her inspiring collection of images – from websites everywhere – yours included.
She knows she should provide attribution on Pinterest, but for the life of her can’t remember the artist’s name, or where the image came from. So she just writes “artist unknown”.
I hear you saying that she should have named the image with your name when she snipped it. Yes, of course she should have, except it never crossed her mind. She’s often in a hurry online and all she really wanted at the time was the picture and to move on.
Watermark To Encourage Shares
My reason for watermarking is not to stop people from accessing my images, but rather, to allow these good people a trail back to me and my website.
Like I said, most of the time this lack of credit isn’t malevolent, but, rather, ignorance.
I agree with Alyson that watermarks should be unobtrusive and sit in the lower right hand corner. They should never be across the center of your art.
When you come across one of your images at another website, you can be flattered that someone liked your work enough to post it.
But if you don’t see a copyright credit, you are well within your rights to contact the site owner and request credit, copyright, and even removal of the image if you feel strongly about it.
About Our Guest Blogger
Kim Bruce is a working artist who runs Artbiz, where she creates websites for artists. She also teaches how to watermark images with NextGen Gallery at The WordPress for Artists School. Kim works out of her office/studio located in the foothills of Alberta just outside of Calgary.
Note from Alyson, Art Biz Blog Publisher: I am still trying to figure out how I feel about watermarked images, but I did want to share Kim's viewpoint. And I haven't been bothered at all by unobtrusive watermarks as Kim describes.
What are your thoughts about watermarking your images?