Protect Photos Online

Legal Protection
1Register CopyrightGet the maximum legal protection More
2Copyright NoticeState your ownership More
Watermark
3Image SizeLimit photos to 1,024 pixels wide More
4WatermarkVisible info over of the image More
5FrameA visible credit area below the image More
6File NameContact info within the file name More
7MetadataInformative text in the header file More
Thwart
8Gallery PasswordGive the keys to only those you know More
9Opt OutTurn on, tune in, drop out More
10HotlinkingTrust no one More
11ShieldShrinkwrap, rollover More
12EncryptObfuscate More
13Disable Save ImageHow do you like them apples? More
Track
14FingerprintSearch for your photos online More
15TrackEmbed a secret ID and monitor online More
Posting Online (FB, Pinterest)
16Rights GrabPinterest, Facebook, Photo Contests More
17LicenseAttribution, Creative Commons More
Infringement / Enforce
18DMCAMr. Gorbachev, take down that photo More
19Cease-and-DesistStep off More
20File SuitWhen all else fails, go to court More

Contents

  1. Register
    1. Register
    2. Register Online
    3. Deposit
  2. Protect Photos Online
    1. Introduction
    2. Safeguard Your Photos
    3. Mark Your Photos
      1. Metadata
      2. Tracking
    4. Thwart Copying on Your Website
    5. Find Your Photos Online
  3. Infringement
    1. Introduction
    2. What is Infringement?
    3. How to Take Legal Action
    4. Damages

“If you love something, set it free.”
Unknown
(attributed as a proverb, or to Richard Bach or Doug Horton)

Once you release your precious photos into the wild, like children they will live a life of their own. So take precautions beforehand to safeguard your loved ones.

Here are the 20 ways to protect your photos online:

Secure Your Photos

Copyright
1Register CopyrightGet the maximum legal protection More
2Copyright NoticeState your ownership More
Safeguard
3Image SizeLimit photos to 1,024 pixels wide More More
4Rights GrabPinterest, Facebook, Photo Contests More
5LicenseAttribution, Creative Commons More
Mark
6WatermarkVisible info over of the image More
7FrameA visible credit area below the image More
8File NameContact info within the file name More
9MetadataInformative text in the header file More

Thwart Copying on Your Website

Hide Images
10Gallery PasswordGive the keys to only those you know More
11Opt OutTurn on, tune in, drop out More
12HotlinkingTrust no one More
HTML Tricks
13ShieldShrinkwrap, rollover More
14EncryptObfuscate More
15Disable Save ImageHow do you like them apples? More

Enforce your Copyrights

Find your Photos Online
16FingerprintSearch for your photos online More
17TrackEmbed a secret ID and monitor onlineMore
Take Legal Action
18DMCAMr. Gorbachev, take down that photo More
19Cease-and-DesistStep off More
20File SuitWhen all else fails, go to court More

Image theft, Internet, images

Top 10

  1. Minimize Image Size
  2. Metadata
  3. Visible Watermark
  4. Visible Footer
  5. Avoid Photo Contests
  6. Gallery Password
  7. Shrinkwrap all images
  8. Copyright Notice
  9. Register Copyright
  10. DMCA Takedown Notice

Copyright, protect, use, and sell photos online with tips and news. Security. Armor: Protecting Your Photographs Using Technology.

  1. Register
    1. Register
    2. Register Online
    3. Deposit
  2. Protect
    1. Introduction
    2. Watermark
    3. Label
    4. Limit
    5. Thwart
    6. Legal
  3. Infringement
    1. Introduction
    2. Damages

Introduction

The only true way to keep your images from being copied off the Internet is to not put them on the Internet. But that’s not an option for a Web-savvy, business-minded photographer like you, so let’s see what are options are available.

“Trust, but verify.”
Ronald Reagan, on the Soviet Union
(from the Russian proverb “doveryai, no proveryai”)

I gathered all the tips I could find for you and split them into these three groups:

  1. Protect your Photos on all Websites
  2. Protect your Photos on your Website
  3. Enforce your Copyrights

Below are summaries of each method. To learn more, follow the links that say, well, “learn more.”

1. Protect your Photos on all Websites

Something here.

“Distrust and caution are the parents of security.”
— Benjamin Franklin

“There is no security on this earth; there is only opportunity.”
— General Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964)

“The superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come.”
— Confucius (551 BC–479 BC)

1. Register Copyright

PRO:If trouble occurs, you can threaten to take the case to court for statutory damages of up to $150,000 per instance of willful infringement.
CON:Costs some time and money, and doesn’t physically stop copying.

File a form online with the Copyright Office, upload your work and pay a fee. You can register any number of photos in one submittal for one fee.

Why register?
Not registeredonly get actual, not statutory damages.
Registeredcan get statutory damages up to $150,000 for a willful infringing use and legal fees.

Tips:

  • Register as many images as you want with one application and for one fixed fee.
  • Zip images, fill out eCO form, upload zip file of your images, pay $35.
  • Can’t mix unpublished and published, so separate into two applications.

register

2. Copyright Notice

PRO:Traditional, professional and legally wise.
CON:Doesn’t physically stop copying.

Photos are often shown with a credit notice such as © 2012 Joe Bloggs. This is not required under copyright law, but it does assert your protection and states your ownership to viewers.

In a lawsuit, a display of the copyright notice helps establish your case and turn infringement from innocent to willful, which increases the potential monetary damages. Innocent can be $200 but willful is up to $150,000. Most photographers and magazines include copyright information.

Making the © symbol
MacOption+G
WindowsAlt+0169
HTML©

Format:  Copyright  Year  Name

The format is not legally defined, any similar approach will do. The year is the year of first publication. The name is that of the person who owns the copyright, which is usually the photographer (unless a full-time employee).

The copyright notice is one type of Copyright Management Information (CMI) which is given legal protection under Section 1202 of the DMCA which is part of the U.S. Copyright Act.

Drawbacks: Since this text is part of the web page and is not attached to the photo itself, it is lost when someone right-clicks a copy. So also included the notice within the image file, such as in the metadata.

For more information, see U.S. Copyright Office Circular 3: Copyright Notice (PDF).

How to add the copyright notice to a webpage

The simplest way is to place a paragraph tag after the image tag. For example:

<img src="photograph.jpg" alt="Image copyright 2012 Joe Bloggs" />
<p>Photo &copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs</p>

&copy; is an HTML entity name which displays the copyright symbol ©. Adding “Photo” before the © symbol helps identify the copyright with the photograph, as opposed to the text or the entire HTML page.

You can also add the information to the <img> tag directly using the alt and title attributes.

Alt is a required attribute for the <img> tag which specifies an alternate text for an image. Google Images uses this information to categorize and index your online photos.

Title is an optional standard attribute which specifies extra information about the element. The text in the title attribute may be displayed in the browser when the cursor hovers over the image.

<img src="photograph.jpg" alt="&copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs" title="Photo &copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs. Please enjoy but don’t steal my images." />
<p>&copy; 2012 Joe Bloggs</p>

Photo © 2012 Joe Bloggs

Copyright Management Information (CMI)

CMI is “any .. [identifying] information conveyed in connection” with copyrighted works. This includes a copyright notice, and credit lines. It can be illegal for someone to remove or falsify CMI to hide or aid infringement.

“[Copyright Management Information (CMI) is] identifying information about the work, the author, the copyright owner, and in certain cases, the performer, writer or director of the work, as well as the terms and conditions for use of the work, and such other information as the Register of Copyrights may prescribe by regulation.”
U.S. Copyright Act, Title 17 means any of the following information conveyed in connection 1202, as amended by DMCA (1998).

Examples of CMI

CMI could be anything “conveyed in connection with copies” that identifies the origin and licensing terms of a work. For example:

  • a copyright notice
  • a serial number
  • a Creative Commons License
  • licensing metadata
  • “credit lines” and “attributions .. next to the images” (see Agence France Presse v. Morel, 2011).
  • the photographer’s name in a “printed gutter credit” — Murphy v. Millennium, 2011

[CMI is] extremely broad, with no restriction on the context in which such information must be used.”
— — Murphy v. Millennium Radio Group LLC, 2011 WL 2315128 (3d Cir. June 14, 2011).

Definition of CMI

CMI was introduced in the Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 that amended and is contained within the U.S. Copyright Act which forms Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

As used in this section, the term ‘copyright management information’ means any of the following information conveyed in connection with copies of a work or displays of a work, including in form (such as in the metadata of your photo file):

(1) The title and other information identifying the work, including the information set forth on a notice of copyright.

(2) The name of, and other identifying information about, the author of a work or

(3) The name of, and other identifying information about, the copyright owner of the work, including the information set forth in a notice of copyright.

17 U.S.C. §1202(c)

Removing or altering CMI

Fines for illegal CMI removal or alteration range from $2,500 to $25,000, plus attorneys’ fees and damages. The copyright of a photograph need not be registered in advance to recover damages under this statute.

No person shall, without the authority of the copyright owner or the law —

(1) intentionally remove or alter any copyright management information,

(2) distribute or import for distribution copyright management information knowing that the copyright management information has been removed or altered without authority of the copyright owner or the law,

17 U.S.C. §1202(b)

© notice

Next: © Notice »

Next page: © Notice

Comments

Comments


Reply by Henriette Nortje

August 7, 2013

Good day

please help me step by step as to how to get the copy right sign on my photos or do I 1st need to register


Reply by Andrew Hudson, PhotoSecrets

September 23, 2013

Hi Henriette:

On my to-do list is to write a step-by-step guide. I will post it at register.

As a quick answer, you do not need to register your copyright as protection is automatic. Registration is optional (more info).

You do not need to add a copyright sign but a notice is helpful. You can write “Copyright Henriette Nortje 2013”, or “© Henriette Nortje 2013”

Best wishes,

Andrew


Add Your Comment

Comment:

Name:

Email (optional):

Submit your comment: