Do you share too much?

 

The internet changed the face of marketing.  It provides us with seemingly endless, rich opportunities to get our brand out to as many people as we want to.

 

“Here’s me” is echoed around the world wide web.

 

http://www.gratisography.com/

Credit

 

Fantastic isn’t it.

 

Except that amongst that online presence are those that decide, “That could be me” and they use your image or words and ideas as their own.

You may find that a compliment, or not really care too much.  You may even use images online yourself without a thought for where they come from or whose they are [NB, if you do do that you are most likely acting illegally and depending on your viewpoint – immorally or unprofessionally].

The trouble is, absolutely anyone anywhere could use your image for anything.

 

What should you do to protect your images online then?

Here are some key actions you can take – focusing on your website images, and in particular WordPress as that is what I use myself:

Remember: Nothing is safe!

So, yes the cheery bit first!  I’m afraid in reality there is very little you can do to 100% keep your images safe.  Just bear that in mind when you post one – at some stage it will likely be used and potentially lost to you.  The things below are like layers to put off and hamper any illegal use of your content.

 

Re-size your images

Not only is this good practice to make sure your web site loads quickly, but it does help not to put a huge file online that would be mighty useful to any potential stealers.  Professional photography companies will do that for you, as will good web developers/designers.  If you have a WordPress site there are plug-ins that will do it for you, such as SMUSH IT.

Watermark your images

This is a really helpful way to prevent people using your stuff.  They are removable by people that put their mind to it, but it is a great barrier for most.  You can also get automated software and plug-ins to do that for you.  We often use a watermark of our logo on our images:

 

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate Martlets Snowdogs by the Sea campaign - The Snowdogs are leaving their temporary home and being placed out on the streets overnight ready for the residents of Brighton and Hove to start exploring the trail when it starts on Saturday morning - The first dog gets dropped off at Jubilee Square

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate

 

Caption your images

Again, good professional photographers will do that for you.  You can add your own information – such as who took the image, who owns it and what it is – when you upload to most websites [the Caption and Alt Text].  Here is a bit more information about captioning.

Right Click Protect

This is a great stumbling block – it means that no-one can right click on your image and ‘Save As.’

 

Photograph by VERVATE. Contact: Susi Doherty, Managing Director on, 0797 3677 017 / 01273 275162.

Photo: Simon Dack/Vervate

Again, those in the know can by-pass it but most people won’t know and just move on.  Please note that in order to fully protect your images, you need to also disable any link to it, eg:

 

Photograph by VERVATE. Contact: Susi Doherty, Managing Director on, 0797 3677 017 / 01273 275162.

 

There are some other things you can do such as Shrink Wrapping your images, which is basically putting a clear cover over them.  However, my recommendation is to initially have a chat with your developer.  They should really have looked at that for you already and so will have some plans to hand for your site.  If you don’t have a web person, make Google your friend and find some software or apps that will help you, with the above points in mind.  For us WordPress users, the standard rule of thumb for choosing a good plug in of course should be remembered [number of users, last update, compatibility, reviews and back up your site before activating it].

 

If you want to check out if any of your images have been used without your knowledge, use something like Tin Eye or Google Image Search.

 

Take Aways:

  • Follow good principles yourself in sourcing photographs
  • Protect your images – they are YOUR BRAND
  • Social media channels have differing approaches to this but largely at the moment take a dim view to permission-less use of images.
  • Don’t lose sleep over it and if someone does use your stuff, just ask them to take it down.
  • Remember too that by UK Copyright Law, the photographer is the legal owner, so always credit them.  Good professional photographers will be able to support you with that if you need help.

Strengthening you visual presence

VERVATE work with businesses to strengthen their visual presence online. See how it can work for you.

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