Protecting Your Images

Though this site talks a great deal about textual plagiarism, images plagiarism is actually the most common kind of theft on the Web. This is due somewhat to misconceptions people have about copyright law and the ease with with which the content can be lifted but is mainly owed to the fact that most people lack the photography/drawing/painting/image editing skills in order to produce good, high-quality images for their site. Essentially, they can write their content, just not make the images to go with it.

As a result, people have to “steal” images for use on their site. Though sometimes it’s legal, for example taking photos from the Stock.xchng or from sites with Creative Commons Licenses, it often times is very unwelcome and, since images are almost never credited, becomes a form of plagiarism.

Nick Jarman, a software developer from Great Britain, recently posted a very interesting entry about how to protect images using a transparent overlay. Though the technique has been around for some time, Nick not only explains the trick clearly but offers javascript and CSS code to help make it much easier to execute. As someone who remembers the old days of having to hard code these overlays by hand, this is a huge relief.

However, the image overlay trick is just one of many that can help protect your images. We will be discussing many of the others ones in the near future. I just wanted to offer something right now for those who have been asking me about image plagiarism.

Because, even though someone who is determined to steal your content will always be able to, simple tricks can thwart the laziest and most incompetent thieves and plagiarists, by in large, seem to be one or the other. That’s just the nature of the beast.

[tags]Plagiarism, Content Theft, Image Theft, Copyright Law, Javascript, CSS[/tags]

18 comments
ric
ric

There's actually a really neat site at nowpublic.com that lets you post your pictures. These are then thumbnailed and available for posting to various blogs via javascript. The owner is always credited with the picture and by clicking on the thumbnail you can get instructions on how to contact the content owner to arrange for a full size print.

ric
ric

There's actually a really neat site at nowpublic.com that lets you post your pictures. These are then thumbnailed and available for posting to various blogs via javascript. The owner is always credited with the picture and by clicking on the thumbnail you can get instructions on how to contact the content owner to arrange for a full size print.

ric
ric

There's actually a really neat site at nowpublic.com that lets you post your pictures. These are then thumbnailed and available for posting to various blogs via javascript. The owner is always credited with the picture and by clicking on the thumbnail you can get instructions on how to contact the content owner to arrange for a full size print.

jyoseph
jyoseph

unfortunately, all you can do is deter a willing image thief. I've done all of the tricks you can do and even then, all it takes is a simple 'view source' from a semi-savvy web user. There will always be artists and there will always be people who steal from artists. :)

jyoseph
jyoseph

unfortunately, all you can do is deter a willing image thief. I've done all of the tricks you can do and even then, all it takes is a simple 'view source' from a semi-savvy web user. There will always be artists and there will always be people who steal from artists. :)

jyoseph
jyoseph

unfortunately, all you can do is deter a willing image thief. I've done all of the tricks you can do and even then, all it takes is a simple 'view source' from a semi-savvy web user. There will always be artists and there will always be people who steal from artists. :)

JB
JB

Marco,I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source. Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

JB
JB

Marco,

I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source.

Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

JB
JB

Marco,

I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source.

Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff.Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image. If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff.

Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image.

If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff.

Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image.

If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

JB
JB

Marco,
I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source.
Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

JB
JB

Marco,

I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source.

Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

JB
JB

Marco, I do agree with you, like I said, it'd stop the lazy and incompetent thieves but not the skilled ones that are determined. There are other ways of course, including scowering the HTML source. Still, it does thwart the "right clickers" that make up the bulk of thieves. It's not perfect protection by any stretch, but it's a step and it doesn't mutilate the work.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff. Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image. If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff.

Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image.

If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

Marco
Marco

Nice idea / technique, definitely. However, no matter how nice it is, it's pretty useless. You just can't protect graphics unless you mutilate them with visible watermarks, logo's printed on them and other ugly stuff.
Nick's technique can be completely bypassed by just making a browser screenshot and opening it in an image editor to cut out the image.
If people are out to steal your stuff they will, no matter what you do.

Amateur