For a photographer, a photo is more than just an image that can be used by anyone and for any purpose. It is a valuable asset and the result of their hard work and endeavour, not to mention their own intellectual property if sourced by legitimate means.
In the eyes of the law, there are complications and difficulties when it comes to protecting these assets from being stolen or poached online. Google and other search engines have attempted to close this gap by listing images that are available free for reuse, available with modification or off limits when it comes to commercialisation of their work.
So what can be done for traditional and digital photographers to do in order to legally cover themselves? Fortunately there are some proactive steps that can be taken to ensure that other parties are not taking advantage of their expertise.
Include a Copyright
Copyright comes inherent with a creator’s work, although the best course of action to take is to register a website or a page that will be the source of a photo gallery. This works as the greatest form of deterrent to list categorically that these images are owned outright by the photographer and in order for other parties to use them, they must make contact and seek permission. A copyright notice can be easily crafted at the foot of a webpage where the only update that is required by the user is the current year.
A watermark is a great tactic to utilise and one that is particularly effective on search engines. These stop users from tapping into an image without seeing a brand name labelled across the picture to illustrate that they do not have the right to use this for their own purposes without the permission of the photographer. There are plugins and software applications that will insert these for you, giving a semi-transparent product that can return to regular condition at your own discrepancy. An alternative to this option is a standard badge that is displayed for those who do not have permission.
Remove the Right-Click Option
There will be thieves who find a means of taking images as new technologies are introduced, yet one of the most common instances are seen through the right-click option. This enables any user to download and save the picture for their own purposes. Taking away this capability will see a sharp drop in your own product being stolen for the advantage of other users, yet it will not completely eliminate examples of fraud or illegal use.