Why You Cant Stop Image Theft on The Web

There will probably never be a way of stopping image theft on the web. All you can do is to try to make it as difficult as possible for people to steal your images.

Disabling the right click button on the mouse using "no right-click javascript" is one method often advocated, but I dont buy it and here's why. No-right click javascript is very quickly and simply overridden: all that needs to be done is to turn off javascript in your browser settings. Disabling the right-click button is not only irritating for visitors, be might be seen as implying you think your visitors are daft enough not to know how to overcome this. If placed in the head section of a html document, javascript also has the drawback of getting in the way of the search engine spiders. Search engines see words near the start of the HTML document as more important. JavaScript code clutter in the head of the HTML document will just push your keywords further down the page, giving them much less prominence.

I was interested to have this site pointed out to me recently: www.lewisburg.org. Here the no-right click javascript is taken one step further, and a larger image is opened in a javascript generated pop-up window. If javascript is disabled in a browser, the larger image cannot be viewed, and therefore cannot be copied. Wrong! There is no way you are going to stop people being able to take a screen print. Neither will you stop people taking screen prints if you use Flash or scripts to display your images. There is one sure-fire solution for preventing image theft on the web: simply don't post it on the net!

Here's some short, basic advice about methods for helping protect your web images:

• Include a Copyright Statement either as part of a watermark/text on the page or site. At least this way you are letting people know you do not want your images copying.

• Keep the image resolution as low as possible - a low resolution image is not that useful to a copier, and this is probably one of the best methods for protecting your images.

• Keep the physical size of the image as small as possible - a small size image is not much use to a copier.

• Watermark your images - watermarks can be edited out fairly easily using programs like Photoshop. However, it does take time to do so. As an artist, this may not always be possible as you will want to show an image off in its best light.

• Consider keeping some or all images out of search engine image searches - not on the face of it what an artist may want for their website but, if someone was looking for an image to copy, ask yourself: where they would go first? A simple way to keep images out of image searches is to create a folder on your webspace for your images, place your images in the folder, then ban search engine bots from the folder using robots.txt.

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