We know people steal photo images from websites, for whatever reason (to use on their own site or blog, usually). And some online publishers try to “copy protect” their sites with tech solutions that, frankly, serve more to annoy regular users than do any actual protecting.
Like that really dumb “disable right-click” thing, which stops a user from calling up the browser’s context menu. The fact that it’s a menu, however, doesn’t seem to clue them to the fact that the context menu has way more useful and convenient options than Save image as, tools that many users use regularly.
Silly. Why? Because people like me can steal the actual image file if we want to anyway, even without that right-click menu. Easy too—it’s not hacker-level know-how, which means a lot of people know how to do it.
If the photos in play are stock images, sweating over this makes no practical sense. But if those images are one’s own creations, that’d be a different story. So, if you can’t really technically stop people from stealing your photographs, what can you really do if you want to protect your rights to their use? Other than being vigilant and unleashing legal hell if you catch anyone doing it, of course.
Watermarks. They’re the only viable option.
That’s when you put your “mark” on an image, typically asserting your ownership or copyright over the image. In practice, it renders the image unusable to thieves since they can’t pass it off as their own. It has to be done right, overlaying an image in one or more spots so it can’t be easily edited out.
This free tool online lets you do them easily, almost brainlessly, really.
Upload the image you want to watermark. Enter the watermark text. Specify the watermark’s color. Move the sliders around to adjust its transparency level, the interval it appears, and the font size. Just the basic features you need to get the job done quickly and easily.
There’s a real-time preview at the bottom, so you don’t have to guess about the settings at all—you can instantly see what happens when you move the sliders around. Save and use the new watermarked image it generated for you. That’s it!
Here’s the test image I created, using a free photograph by Patrick Fore on Unsplash.
NOTE: Of course, the watermark solution is only good for noise tolerant application. If, for whatever reason, you want to have the photos on your site totally perfect and unmarred, watermarks are obviously not the way to go. But that does beg the question: Will having watermarks really matter? Play with that transparency slider and see how minimal you can get that watermark noise down while still being effectively able to do its job.