My photos are starting to walk should I put a logo?

This is a discussion on My photos are starting to walk should I put a logo? within the Photography Discussion forums, part of the PHOTO FORUM category; I think you should at least put some kind of stamp on them, definately. I saw a story on the news a while back, about ...


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  1. #11
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    I think you should at least put some kind of stamp on them, definately. I saw a story on the news a while back, about photos being taken off the net. Two examples they used were a puppy, and a young woman. Neither the family who owned the puppy, nor the woman, knew their photos were stolen, and used in a marketing add for a large company. All for free. They simply edited the photos, cropped, removed the subjects from the photos, and added to a new background. But, when we place things on a public website, things like this will happen, so good or bad quality, protect yourself.

    I think it's possible to remove anything they want, but you have to first be good at making it look not so obvious, and second, make them have to work for it. It at least makes someone stop and think a bit more about stealing. But then, you also have those who will steal a photo, and display it as their own, even with a big old copyright symbol down the center, and the photographers name.

    I think sometimes it's just that people are also unaware, and simply need to be educated. I had a horse photo I did for someone, that I found on her website. She ordered it as a 4x6, and thought because she bought it, it was solely hers, even though I had my copyright on there. She scanned it in, enlarged it, and cropped off the copyright. I approached her about it, and she had honestly not realized what she had done was wrong. It happens, so I think sometimes we (I) just need to educate the people a little bit more.
    Geri
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  2. #12
    R0B
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    PHOTO EDITING NOT OK
    An alternative to a 'watermark' is to do something along the lines of this:

    It looks a little bit more professional, doesn't really spoil the picture as it doesnt go straight through the middle, and would make the picture a real bummer to steal...
    500px.com/robellis
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  3. #13

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    ROB, IMO that stuff is completely distracting...
    But then, I personally against any kinds of stamps/frames/signatures on photos, since 95% of em look too unprofessional and distracting.

    as for photos stolen for "big advertisements", well it's either "urban legend" or some one-in a thousand case.
    I've worked 5 years for advertisement agency, we used all kinds of photos in out adrvetisements, and I'd tell, you, the 15mp image of virtually anything copyright free cost you about $3-$4 these days. Is it worth bothering stealing someones pix for saving $3???
    Now, if you're talking big, like something worth printing 8'x20', you're talking about big bucks, but then, who would, in the right mind, produce such a huge images and place them available for downloading online? Those images run around gigabytes of space and usually are high res scans from medium format film...

  4. #14

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    also, IMO opinion, nowdays of digital media, "making money by selling photos" in 99% means, selling prints of your photos. No one buys digital copy and then hangs it on his desktop (and even if he does, there is microstock for that, where desktop-size picture would cost you 50 cents...), people buy prints to hang them on the wall. Guess what? If you post your image at screen-size resolution (even 1600x1280), people, who was dumb enough and print it from screen will get something like 5x6 print at most, so unless they like miniatures on their walls, it's not worth stealing IMO.

  5. #15
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    Most of the photos I post on FB are in such a small size that anyone who would copy them could probably print out no more than a 4X6 at poor resolution.
    I agree with algalkin on that aspect.

    I love your photos!
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  6. #16
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    I am really not a big fan of what I refer to as Draconian copyright protection. From my experience (in graphic design) it is easier just to sell the rights to the work you produce to the client and work "for hire". This is especially true of today's social climate.

    However, I do think that it is a good idea to put a logo on your professional work if they are popping up places. While it is true that anyone intent on stealing your photographs will just remove the logo, placing a logo with contact info (such as e-mail) is a good way to help honest people get in touch with you as well as provide advertising. If people are posting your pics on forums claiming that they are their own, sign up, log in and bring up the point, as well as contact the moderators of that forum to report the theft.

    I totally agree with Algalkin, but I would take it a step further. While we all love our own photographs and think everyone should love them at mondo-size, I just don't see the point. I personally hate it when people display images larger than about 800px in the widest dimension. By scaling down further your images will have very limited professional print use. And having worked in advertising, print is the area which you need to be most concerned. Smaller ad agencies, even "reputable" ones, will often steal photographs on the web knowing that the product they produce will never, ever be found by the copyright holder (a practice I never endorsed but was required to do on occasion). And it's true, you will never see local printed media from 1000 miles away. By restricting the size, any one dumb enough to try to use it in print media will end up hurting them self, while you, the photographer from 1000 miles away remain unknown.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...

  7. #17

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    also, with the new CS5 content aware clone stamp - give me any copyrighted image and I'll turn it into "non-copyrighted" in two minutes!

  8. #18
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    For every complex problem there is a simple solution, which is always wrong.

    Copyright and ownership is a complex topic. While most countries subscribe to the Bern convention, the way that convention is applied from country to country varies a lot.

    Having said that, as I understand US law, if you fail to put a copyright notice explicitly on the image your rights are virtually nil. Any one using an image that does not have copyright can claim ignorance. The court penalties or awards (in the case of an advertising use) will be limited to a few dollars because the user had no way of knowing that it wasn't fair game.

    If the image contains a printed copyright that has been removed then the issue becomes a pseudo criminal issue and the compensatory fines become significant. A web design company that snagged some images from Corbis (or was it Getty) were fined something like $30'000 PER USE. The removal of a copyright and / or watermark is seen as sign of knowing disregard and willful conduct.

    Someone may not want to use the image directly, they may want to sell it as stock photography or resell it it in some way; a 1024 wide image may be usable for a post card, a web blog, or internet use. If you have your images labeled with a copyright notice and a watermark and the images show up in a commercial use, you have a lot better chance of getting a reasonable settlement. And if someone has to decide between cleaning out a watermark / copyright notice and an image without one, They'll most likely snag the image that's the easiest to get.

    Not tagging you images in any way is seen by most people as a way of saying, "here is, do what you want". I'm not sure but I think there is a symbol you can put on your images for Creative Commons attribution, that is, the image can be used for non-commercial use but must be credited to the copyright owner.

    At the very least, you should put a copyright notice on all of your images.

    Charles
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  9. #19
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    Lots of things to think about here! Thanks for all the wonderful feedback everyone. I'm not sure all of it applies to me, but it's a wonderful discussion and certainly applies to many people here.

    I have a few motivations when it comes to marking my work. Firstly I think a logo may cause someone pause and at least they'd stop to ASK if they could use it. In all the cases my work has taken a walk I would've absolutely said YES if I was asked. These people are my friends and I'm not currently doing work for money. I would, however, like to be credited as I'm sure anyone would.

    I have been worried about the precedent setting of saying nothing. If I choose to move this hobby to a more serious pursuit I don't want people feeling my work was free before and should always remain free. Also, I don't want them thinking photography in general is worth nothing.

    Shockingly, just today I received a message from a friend asking if I could make her a print of a shot. I'm very glad she asked as it would not look good if she tried to make the print from the tiny facebook file! So, maybe I was wrong to think people wouldn't want prints?

    Also, the horse world is small, and many people I know are friends and acquaintances with the local photographers in the industry... Maybe if my name was on things it would help me to get in as a second shooter?? I've been seriously considering such a pursuit for next show season. (After practicing all this summer and fall, obviously).

    Lots to think about here.
    -Laura-
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  10. #20
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    (disclaimer: I am not an attorney, the following is not legal advice and is not intended to be applied to any specific individual)

    Quote Originally Posted by clupica View Post
    Having said that, as I understand US law, if you fail to put a copyright notice explicitly on the image your rights are virtually nil. Any one using an image that does not have copyright can claim ignorance. The court penalties or awards (in the case of an advertising use) will be limited to a few dollars because the user had no way of knowing that it wasn't fair game.
    This is completely untrue.

    "The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. (See following note.) There are, however, certain definite advan* tages to registration. See “Copyright Registration” on page 7.
    Copyright is secured automatically when the work is cre* ated, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. “Copies” are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm.
    “Phonorecords” are material objects embodying fixations of sounds (excluding, by statutory definition, motion picture soundtracks), such as cassette tapes, CDs, or vinyl disks. Thus, for example, a song (the “work”) can be fixed in sheet music (“copies”) or in phonograph disks (“phonorecords”), or both. If a work is prepared over a period of time, the part of the work that is fixed on a particular date constitutes the created work as of that date."

    "The use of a copyright notice is no longer required under U.S. law, although it is often beneficial."

    (http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.pdf)

    Copyright law is confusing in the areas of fair use, ownership, and how damages are awarded (since contract law only allows for compensatory damages). It may be more difficult to assert a copyright without giving notice, but this is only so far in proving that you are the original owner. As for how copyright is established, you do NOT need to register it, nor disclaim that it is copyright (such a ©). The idea that you were ignorant that it was not copyright does not set well with US law, which routinely does not grant exemptions on the grounds of ignorance.
    bear with me. i don't have an escape button...


 
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