Watermarking and image piracy

After having received several SPAM/SCAM emails, I decided to research options for watermarking my photo images. It is cumbersome… BUT! I checked out a comment made by another DPW artist, concerning the “Wallpart.com” site. To my dismay I was easily able to locate many of my watercolor paintings on that site, by inserting my full name into their search window. It appears that they have pulled these paintings from my blog, but may also have lifted them from my DPW gallery. It’s tough to say… There are a number of very well-known watercolorists, and other artists, whose work has also been hacked and is offered as an image for sale in poster format. There is little that can be done, I think, to combat these Wallpart.com actions. But I’m now adding a watermark to all of my online paintings (current as well as sold paintings), and my reference photos posted on my blog. To do this, I’m using a free online tool found at www.watermarquee.com It is time-consuming. But it will help me vent my frustration!!! And perhaps will protect my images… :-/ I’d be interested to hear from any other artists who have faced this piracy issue, and whether/how you have handled it by adding a watermark.

Dear Judith,

I feel for your plight. I have heard you can send the violators a “cease and desist” order or letter which is a legal document ordering the violators to remove what is not theirs. Google it to see what comes up. There may be a template letter on the internet you can use.

The thing is, anyone with a basic knowledge of Photoshop can essentially “erase” the watermark on a digital image.

1 Like

Yes, I know about “cease and desist” – I’m familiar with a few artists who have handled this kind of thing through an atty. I don’t flatter myself that my work is worth all that effort and $$. :confused: Oh well…

Thanks, David, for that info. I think that I will continue to use DPW for my “small” and inexpensive work and avoid putting up images of larger pieces that sell for more. It’s frustrating, but I guess in general it’s best to sell higher-priced paintings through more traditional avenues (shows and galleries). This has worked for me, but it is a completely different experience than the one that DPW offers!

If you have an email for the people using your images you can send the letter yourself. No atty required. Once they see the letter it may motivate them to do the right thing? Best of luck.

@revjudith You’re welcome. The reason I mentioned it is because I know a lot of people go through the trouble of watermarking not realizing how easy it is to remove them, and then they end up doubly frustrated. It’s similar to the disabled right-click on DPW, which is in place to prevent image theft, except anyone can do a screen capture as a way around that.

I do a small watermark in the corner of my work. Not because I think it’ll deter genuine, determined thieves, but for the many people out there that have no malice, but just “collect” pictures from the Internet and forget where they found them. They then may repost them on Facebook or wherever. If I have my watermark (which is my URL) then at least these images will get spread around with some identifying info on them.

The only real protection from the determined thieves is to never release anything too high resolution online. I think the largest I’ve ever shown is the 1000 pixels size on DailyPaintworks. That’s bigger than what I usually do, but it’s not going to produce a decent-sized print that looks any good.