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Protecting Your Images With A Digital Watermark

This past week a reader asked for advice about how to prevent people from stealing his web images of the comic books he is selling on eBayR. Unfortunately, I had to tell him that prevention is almost impossible but there are a few steps he could take that might deter those readers with a conscience.

The first option is the no-right-click script which prevents readers from using the pop-up context menu to copy your images or save/download them. But this script doesn't work in all web browsers.

Another option is to display your images using a FlashR application which also prevents the right click. I have seen this used on sites that sell downloadable clipart. Instead of placing the sample images on the webpage with the HTML <img> tag, their pages contain a Flash application that works like a pseudo image gallery.

However, even though the right click pop-up menu is blocked, people can get around both of these preventive measures by clicking on the PrtScrn (print screen) button on their keyboard. This will take a "snapshot" of everything open on their computer screen including your image.

A third option is to use AdobeR PhototshopR to place a watermark on your image. There are two ways to do this depending on your needs; an embedded and a visible watermark. If you are licensing your images and sending them to the publisher, you could use Photoshop to embed the copyright information. This embedded watermark is a digital code that is invisible to the eye but can be displayed by some graphics programs. If you want to deter people from stealing your images from the web, you can use the visible version of a watermark. This is a semi-transparent text placed over the image that makes it visibly obvious that the image is copyrighted. In the example, I have place the semi-transparent text Copyrighted Material on top of my image.




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