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Thread: Copyright and watermark questions

  1. #1
    GreenTea's Avatar
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    Copyright and watermark questions

    Hi, does someone know the answers to the following wonderings?

    1. Can I include the c in the circle in my watermark even if I didn't copyright the specific photo or my work in general? Is that a valid copyright?

    2. Why do so many people upload amazing photos they've shot and don't watermark them? Doesn't it bother them that their art may be used commercially without acknowledging them as the authors?

    3. Why do so many people place their watermark near the margins of the photo, where it can easily be cropped out?

    Sorry if the answers are too obvious, but I'm a very slow person in these things...

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Hi Greentea,

    1. In most (all?) countries, you don't need to DO anything, copyright automatically defaults to the photographer. So yes, there nothing to stop you using the circled c character. (Finding how is a different issue )

    2. and 3. The ratio of casual observers to people who steal photo's off the net, must be millions to one, so why spoil it for potentially hundreds or thousands of image viewers on the .01% chance a thief would see it. Also, in most cases, it would only be small fees earned and would I miss that? No, but maybe that's too easy for me to say with a reasonably well paid job in a fairly affluent country, no offence is intended to anyone less well off than I. It is strictly a hobby for me, those that do, or have, had to earn a living from their pics seem more reluctant to post unwatermarked images, even here at low res., it seems sad, but maybe they are just more aware of what goes on than I.

    The images I post are usually for bandwidth reasons, quite small, and even if 1200 pixels across, are unlikely to be good enough quality to commercially print say, a book cover from. Anything less than that is unlikely to attract much revenue I'd have thought.

    Of course, the other reason people that do earn from photos watermark, is really just advertising their name - nothing wrong in that, I'd probably do the same.

    If I ever was in the right place, right time and got a very newsworthy pic, I admit I'd consider things differently, but how likely is that? - something to worry about when it happens ...

    Enough ramblings,

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    GreenTea's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Thank you very much, Dave!!!

    Would it be too presumptuous and/or rude of me to watermark the photos I send to acquaintances by email? To be totally honest, when they pass my photos on for others to see, I'd love for people to know who took those photos. I live in a very small country and I hope some day I can use the photos in a book I may write...

    Erm...speaking about how to put the c in the circle in my watermark...how do you do it? I thought you just used the symbol function from Word...

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    An update on this.

    I have had my pics used 'unexpectedly' on a club website, and the webmaster just hacked bits from some of my images to make 'personality' shots of their club members.

    It was unexpected because they had their own photog at the event (a cycle road race) and I assumed they would use his shots, but maybe there was a problem with them (I never saw ANY of his published).
    I was credited though. The silly thing is, if they had asked, I would have willingly supplied unwatermarked, or certainly better cropped, examples for their free use. They are only a voluntary club for the members benefit primarily.

    I'd already published the pics on my Picasa gallery (with a discreet watermark) and sent them a link to the gallery for use on their website, which they did use. I wasn't too worried and couldn't even be bothered to chase it up or suggest they use better pics.

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    Would it be too presumptuous and/or rude of me to watermark the photos I send to acquaintances by email? To be totally honest, when they pass my photos on for others to see, I'd love for people to know who took those photos. I live in a very small country and I hope some day I can use the photos in a book I may write...
    Personally speaking (as an observer), I don't mind - so long as it's done tastefully; Antonio is a shining example of how this can be done (of course there's nothing to stop people cropping it off).

    But in my opinion, there's also no faster way to murder an image than to plaster a big three-dimensional copyright symbol & associated photographer name right across an image.

    My personal favourite solution is to simply create an image frame, and pop anything you like into it's boarder; that way you have the copyright notice - your name - the image title etc, and anything else you want to add.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Hi again Greentea,

    Funny you should ask, as I also supplied a few free prints to members and since the pics were being forwarded on in e-mails, I produced this default e-mail auto-signature text:
    Any images contained within, attached to, or made available from weblinks in this e-mail, are strictly copyright protected and beyond any specific permissions granted to the initial recipient(s) of this e-mail, may NOT be re-used or re-published without the express written permission of the copyright holder. Such links or images may be forwarded to others by e-mail or printed/displayed for personal/family use, but only in 'as received' state and unaltered in any way. Thank you.
    Of course, since then, I haven't needed it and delete it from every e-mail I send

    If you're using Word, that's the easy way, getting it into PSE is a bit more tricky - no time to explain right now, may follow up later.

    Bye for now,

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post
    Would it be too presumptuous and/or rude of me to watermark the photos I send to acquaintances by email?
    Yes

    Seriously, I do "joke" about photographers (myself included) having "an over-inflated sense of self-importance"

    I don't want to tell anyone else what they should and shouldn't do - but using myself as an example, I often display commercial landscapes here at a resolution that's high enough for someone to make themselves a nice medium-sized print ... and all they have to do is right-click the image and choose "save as" - but - if they do, does it take any money out of my pocket? (probably not - hasn't happened yet that I'm aware of) - will somebody copy my work and display it elsewhere (yep, already happened - not losing any sleep over it) - and - if it brings a smile to someone's day (perhaps as a PC wallpaper) then I'm very happy for them

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Easy for me to say being a hobbyist and not producing anything of commercial value but I personally think anyone who is likely to steal the photo in some way is not likely to buy it and anyone who is likely to buy your work or at least seek proper permission to use would do so regardless of watermarking situation. The first group includes various types and not just what we'd call your average thieves, for instance desktop wallpaper use like colin mentioned. People are not likely to buy your image for use as their wallaper but technically they would be likely to steal it and not ask for permission to use it even if you stated they should.

    The more serious thief would be the person (or more likely a company) who makes something off your image in some way and gives no credit to you and effectively pass it off as either their own or something they have permission to use (like using someone elses images for advertising a product on a website but making it look like the images are your property). This kind of thing is only really a pain to those who produce commercially viable stuff and the only way to stop this kind of use is ruining the images by watermarking in such a way that the watermark completely trashes the pic making it a bit pointless.

    I could be wrong but I think it would be better to have discrete watermarking and if your work is in danger of being ripped off in a way that isn't so forgivable (like wallpaper or printing a little postcard to put on your desk or something) the be sure to check the likely culprits (such as competitors) and if they do pinch your work then take appropriate action. It's not likely to be a major issue for many people though I feel.

    I think the image theft thing is overrated myself but agree that watermarking in a discrete way can even add to the image in a way. If you have a custom signature tucked away in a frame in a nice script, add some drop shadow or colour theme it to blend with images etc then it can be unobtrusive but aesthetically pleasing I find. Personally if I found anyone pinched one of my pics (unlikely as it is) I'd be likely to send them an email with the higher res original files if they actually wanted it that bad .

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Case in point ... take a look here and see if any of these look familiar

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreenTea View Post

    Erm...speaking about how to put the c in the circle in my watermark...how do you do it? I thought you just used the symbol function from Word...
    The universal code is ALT+0169 which gives you . Voila!

    It works in every Windows application I've tried it in. I can't speak to the Mac side of things.

    Here is a handy list of ALT codes.
    Last edited by OldCrow; 12th July 2009 at 12:34 AM.

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Colin please dont start watermarking your images,,,It will make it harder for me to sell them here in the USA....

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    Colin please dont start watermarking your images,,,It will make it harder for me to sell them here in the USA....
    Your welcome to try - just so long as I get a commission

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    I have too much time on my hands , hope your not mad..Copyright and watermark questions

    PS can u make a quick tutorial on how to make a black border around a picture? It really looks nice...

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    can u make a quick tutorial on how to make a black border around a picture? It really looks nice...
    1. Resize image to 1024 x 512 pixels

    2. Set foreground colour to medium grey

    3. Add 75 pixel (relative) to top and bottom using IMAGE -> Canvas Size

    4. Add additional 50 pixels to bottom only using same

    5. Select grey area

    6. Shrink selection by 3 pixels

    7. Change foreground colour to black

    8. Use paint bucket on selected area

    9. Add text as required (you've *almost* got the hang of that step!).

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    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    I recently had one of my photos taken from a post on another site.They changed the background of the photo did some PP(have to admit it looked better than my PP) and posted it on a different site that I frequent.Initially I was upset,but after thinking about it I let it drop.If someone has to pirate a photo they didn't take to post for recognition I find it a bit sad.
    Being a hobbyist I don't bother with a copyright.If I was making a living with photography it would be a different story.
    Jim

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    I think if i remember thr tutorial correctly,,,PS has a way too embed the Exif data in the image so that person data can be saved in it? but ya,,,,I agree..unless u are intending to sell that particular image , that watermarking is a pain in da neck and pointless..

  17. #17
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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    True but you can strip exif easy enough and no doubt fake it by various methods if you really wanted to so exif contact is only really of use if people want to know the identity or contact the pics author. The only sure fire way to stop your images being stolen is not hosting them and taking legal action against anyone who distributes HQ versions without consent.

    One artist I liked has gone to this length as their gallery now consists of thumbnail sized images and very low quality highly compressed jpeg previews with watermarks. To get a half decent version to print you need to buy it, and I don't mean buying a print, I mean buying the image so you can get it printed or even see it in it's intended glory. As a result I lost interest in his work a while back. I personally think it's a bit far as those who would pay for it and really want a print it are likely to buy it even if they could rip it off somehow (enough people donate to foss projects for instance) and those who wouldn't will steal it regardless. I notice such artists full works being distributed on some art places since they adopted such a stance so if anything stats wise it's probably stolen more now.

    Eg. An example regarding other products, stores like HMV used to let you take cd's and films back within a few days if you didn't like them for that very reason then the piracy scaremongering started and they only accept faulty ones and it's a replacement job not a refund (at least without jumping through hoops......... backwards). Now a few people I know won't chance a film or new cd they cannot get legit preview of (common for many none mainstream releases) as they are stuck with it so will steal one instead with the feelings if they like it they will go and buy it, if not they tend to delete it as if it's not worth buying it's not worth keeping. However in practise I notice many people don't end up buying after watching etc even if they though it was worth it. Obviously it's still theft hence I don't do it these days (I can't steal in any way, long story ) but many who would have bought it wont now and those who were inclined to steal it (for the most part) wouldn't have gone the bought/copied/return route as download or buying cheap pirated version is often less hassle and effort.

    I think images fall into a similar thing myself and as I said before artists who get hardcore on preventing improper use and very strict control seem to have their work ripped off more as those who might think about buying now don't bother since they aquired the full product from someone else but wouldn't have done so if there wasn't a watermark taking up 50% of the centre of the image. I personally just tend to gloss over heavily watermarked or severly degraded quality previews of images. Conversely not handing it to people on a plate is a good thing such as flash embedded previews or something which are no trouble to potential customers and doesn't spoil assessment or enjoyment but it isn't a simple matter or save image>print although for those intent on ripping off the image it's just as easy to rip off flash embedded stuff. Just my opinion and many wont agree but it's my experience of it at least.

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Case in point ... take a look here and see if any of these look familiar
    You were using a Japanese camera, right?

    Chuck

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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by CNelson View Post
    You were using a Japanese camera, right?

    Chuck
    well atleast that Korean site gave Colin credit by titling that section with his name...


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    Re: Copyright and watermark questions

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    well atleast that Korean site gave Colin credit by titling that section with his name...

    I'd be quite interested to read the rest of what they were saying too, but unfortunately, I don't read the language!

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