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Thread: Online Photo Size & Image Theft

  1. #1
    Wolf's Avatar
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    Online Photo Size & Image Theft

    I have noticed a lot of people on CIC download large photo files, which would be easy to copy and use fraudulently. I only ever use photo sizes of around 600 Some of the photo sizes I have seen on CIC are around 3500, a gift to someone who is looking to blow-up and print your work
    Last edited by Wolf; 9th April 2011 at 10:15 AM.

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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    I have noticed a lot of people on CIC download large photo files, which would be easy to copy and use fraudulently. I only ever use photo sizes of around 600-800 ppi. Some of the photo sizes I have seen on CIC are around 3500 ppi, a gift to someone who is looking to blow-up and print your work
    Hi Glyn,

    I think you mean 600 - 800 pixels, and 3500 pixels, not PPI. Pixels are a measure of the amount of information contained in the photo, and gives an indication of print quality for a given viewing distance, whereas PPI is a measure of print density which is kinda related, but the two aren't interchangeable.

    With regards to higher pixel counts being "a gift to someone who is looking to blow-up and print your work" - yep - absolutely. As one of the ones who generously provides work at higher resolutions though, I think it's important to encourage people to take a step back and "think outside the square" a bit ...

    - If someone does blow-up and print my work, does it take any $$$ out of my pocket? Answer: probably not. People who do that kinda thing probably weren't planning on purchasing one of my prints anyway. Can it work the other way too? I know of a website selling prints that were concerned about people ripping them off - so they only made very low resolutions of images available, and they put a big copyright stamp right across the middle of each one. To the best of my knowledge, not a single image was ever ripped off ... unfortunately, not a single image was ever sold either ... so there is a potential downside to low resolution / watermarked images. At least with a high resolution image the potential customer can make a better judgement call about the quality of the image ... and I think that's important.

    - if someone makes a 6 x 4 or 9 x 6" print of my work without my knowledge -- then I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. If preventing that kind of thing was top priority then the easy answer is simply to not display my work online, but that's not a very good way for people to see and appreciate my work!

    I've found the best approach is to invest in and trust my friends, collegues, and potential customers -- if that means that a few rip me off (and yes, it has happened), then "so be it".

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: File Size

    Glyn

    I tend towards Colin's view with regard to display of work.

    My uploading of images either to CiC or to my own website is not an exercise if showcasing a product to the world that I hope the world will then knock on my door to buy. I am more interested in displaying something at sufficient quality that will allow people, if it's good enough, to say so. In other words, I am using this medium as a virtual gallery. For example, the photo of the dog I posted on Saturday has, at the time of writing, been seen by 123 people. That's 123 more than would have seen it otherwise. I want what I do to be seen well.

    If someone is so inclined as to want to effectively steal a copy of it, then that's their problem. If I feel the need to then intervene to protect my intellectual property, I know I have copyright law on my side.

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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    I am right on my description of ppi
    I'm sorry, but you're not right. PPI is a measure of pixel density, not file size, nor does it give any indication of how much useful information is in a file. An image printed 3500 PPI image - printed 1/3500th of an inch wide - would contain only 1 pixel of information. An image printed at 3500 PPI would be pointless - you'd need a microscope to resolve almost 19,000 tone changes per square millimeter (assuming the image was larger than 1 square mm). Even commercial work is seldom printed above 300 PPI. A 3500 pixel image on the other had could be printed to approx 19" wide @ 180 PPI though.

    can't understand your laid back attitude to people stealing your work
    Well I thought I explained it pretty well above, but I'll try again. Let's put people into two groups.

    Group 1 are the crooks - there aren't very many of them - and they aren't going to be buying my work anyway - so if/when they steal something, it doesn't take any money out of my pocket.

    Group 2 are the honest people - the vast majority. By being able to inspect higher resolution versions of my images they can verify the quality of my work and thus they feel more confident that they're about to purchase a quality product.

    The first group aren't "stealing my work" - they're only stealing a medium resolution copy of my work. I still have the full resolution copies (so it's not like they're stealing my car). It's not that I have a "laid back attitude", it's just a simple economic truth. I'd rather make more money but at the risk that some people will take advantage of me than make no money by keeping my images out of the public domain so that nobody can steal them.

    In reality, the theft of my images just isn't a major (or even significant) issue.
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 4th April 2011 at 12:47 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    "Group 1 are the crooks - there aren't very many of them" please! ... photos are used on a fraudulent basis daily,
    It's an interesting point. To what extent to we have evidence of the extent of this sort of behaviour? I know that it happens, but how much of it? Or is it a bit like crime? We know that the fear of crime is actually much greater than the actual incidence of crime.

    So, do we have a sense/notion of all this theft of images going on, with the reality being there's a lot less of it than we think? Or do we know the problem is as prevalent as we sometimes think it is?

    Anyone know of any robust research that's been done?
    Last edited by Donald; 4th April 2011 at 03:56 PM.

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    Re: File Size

    Good point Donald, I have seen many photos on the net that are clearly not the owners, the name and copyright have been cropped off, what I am getting at is even making your images smaller does not always work, because small or medium fraudulent images are being used on websites, and the website owners passing off the work as their own. I know this goes on as several friends of mine have been victim to this, the photos are not for sale on the sites just used to make them and their site look good.

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    Re: File Size

    Colin has his facts dead right in respect to the differences between ppi and pixels.

    As to people taking one of my images and using them then I simply don't care. I don't make money from my photography so there is nothing of any monetary value (to me) being stolen. As it happen I tend to resize my shots to between 800 & 900 pixels on their longest edge as this views nicely on a range of monitors - not everyone has a HD screen, keeps the file size down so pages load quickly for slower broadband users and uploads easily for me when I'm creating a post. Even at that pixel size a decent 6 inch print could be made so even at this 'small' size you are going to have to stamp a copyright over the whole shot to deter people from stealing it. Thing is if you did no one would comment on it here or on similar sites as the shot would be spoiled for the intended viewer so what would be the point in even posting it.

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    Re: File Size

    As I see it, and I have been known to be wrong.

    There are a couple of issues here. Firstly, regarding theft of copyright.

    If I have something which is of real value I take great care to avoid theft. For instance, I don't leave my car with the keys in the ignition (at least not deliberately!) and the same applies to my photos. If, and admittedly this is very unlikely, I had a real 'scoop' of a photo which had a reasonable monetary value it would not be widely available on the internet, unless as others have mentioned, it was too small to be of any real use.

    And with regard to my 'normal' photos, I can only say to someone who feels the need to steal them. 'Thanks, I never realised they were that good; you have made my day'.

    I can understand, for example, a wedding photographer being annoyed if their sample photos of a wedding were copied by the customer instead of paying for prints from the photographer.

    But most of us are in a different league, and personally, I feel that life is too short to get excited over the loss of a couple of pounds/dollars/etc, which you wouldn't have received anyway. I don't exclusively drink in the cheapest pub/bar to save a few pennies.

    However, I seem to remember a recent instance where a photo was used by another person, without permission but it was still linked to the original. I think the advice here was to change the original to something which could cause offence to the 'thief'. I'm not sure of the final outcome. Can we have an update.

    And finally, with regard to image size. I thought that the policy here was that images should be under 700 pixels on the long side and less than 150 kb. I normally resize mine to 650 pixels and adjust the Jpeg compression to suit.

    Anything above this limit was automatically resized, which could produce soft results; so you benefited by conforming and only uploading correct sizes where you were in charge of the quality.

    Is this still the case, and does it also apply to images which come through the Tiny Pics upload option?

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    Re: File Size

    May I be so bold to say that I find Wolf's attitude rather offensive? (Not to mention insulting to forum members that are moderators and administratorsn and as such might be suspected of knowing a bit what they are talking about?)

    Sorry, but the tone of his first few posts got me rather angry

    Remco

    Edit: @moderators; please feel free to delete this post if you find I'm going too far
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 6th April 2011 at 09:54 AM.

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    Re: File Size

    I found one of mine on another site and called the guy out on it by posting the EXIF data which included the date shot....since then, the photo has disappeared as has the photographer - at least on that site. It is not printable quality nor can it be upsized to be of printable quality and every competition I've ever entered requires a 240-300 min dpi original file for final print...other than looking good to your friends, I can't see the use is snagging someone else's work....and the world, through this forum, is getting smaller all the time....it's getting harder to steal.

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    Re: File Size

    I stand up for what I believe in and I have not offended or insulted any one Remco, this is a forum thread with a debate for what is right and what is wrong with fraudulent photos being used without the owners consent
    Last edited by Wolf; 4th April 2011 at 08:43 PM.

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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    so just because you don't make money at photography, some of us do !
    Well I'm one of the ones that do - and I believe that one of the reasons most of my online sales are made is because people can view a quality example of the photograph (with my definition of quality being "something longer than 600 pixels along the long dimension, and no distracting watermarks"). I could post dozens of images that have sold making me many thousands of dollars ... and so I hope you can understand my reluctance to compromise that income stream just to "thwart the bad guys".

    On the other hand, I challenge you to produce evidence of even a single one of my images ever being used in a way that's taken money out of my pocket.

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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf View Post
    Who is talking about mm I am talking imperial
    I used mm as an example because one square mm is easy to visualise. If you prefer however, 3500 PPI is 12,250,000 tones changes per square inch - which again, no human eye - even with a magnifying glass - could be able to resolve.

    "Group 1 are the crooks - there aren't very many of them" please! what planet do you live on, photos are used on a fraudulent basis daily, "they're only stealing a medium resolution copy of my work" it is still stealing which ever way you look at it, so I will agree to disagree with your comments
    Yes - of course it's still stealing. My point is however that it's the unavoidable consequence of the successful marketing approach I've chosen to employ in running my photography business. In contrast, if you choose to avoid putting your work online - or put it online down-sampled to the point where it's useless to any crooks - then of course I totally respect that as being your business and/or personal right and decision to do so - however - if that inturn costs you internet sales then that's the consequence of your decision that you have to live with. If you're happy with that decision because it "stops the bad guys who are everywhere" then that's fine - again - totally up to you. Personally though, I'd rather have the money in my pocket. If some "criminal" has a 10x5" print of my work somewhere - or are using it as a screensaver/wallpaper then all I can say is "I'm glad you're enjoying it", as it's my pleasure to have provided then with that free sample of my work.

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    Re: File Size

    I have found a number of my images used on websites for commercial purposes. I'm not very troubled. It's part of the internet age and it's not Pepsi or Nike using them which would lead me to a pot of gold. Using small images won't help too much. Upsampling plug-ins get better and better. I make a little effort, but not too much, to have my images removed from commercial websites, I doubt I'd make enough in court award to make the effort worthwhile if I really tried to pursue some form of legal action. I don't care if people make an image their desktop background. It's hardly serious commercial use.

    Anyway, it's a personal issue as to the amount of effort it is worth putting in to prevent small scale theft.

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    Re: File Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Chesil View Post
    Anyway, it's a personal issue as to the amount of effort it is worth putting in to prevent small scale theft.
    For what it's worth, I agree with Colin and Paul. Life is just too darn short to worry about what could happen if worrying keeps you from living at all.

    Glyn, I understand what you are saying and I respect how you feel. I was there myself when I decided to use the internet to sell my work. It is just something you will need to come to terms with if you want to sell outside of brick and mortar venues.

    Mike

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