Like any content creator online these days, protecting the integrity of your work is important, and not to have it easily disseminated online without proper credit. This is an especially urgent matter if you are a freelancer, basically relying on selling your content in order to make a living. Perhaps some of the most vulnerable content around the internet these days has to do with stock photos. These tend to get endlessly shared and used on other blogs and websites, without proper credit, and the copyright situation is fairly muddied. In this brief primer, we will cover the easiest ways to protect your stock photos without creating further headaches for yourself.
Use Vetted Stock Photo Agencies
You can sell your stock photos in different ways, maybe directly from your own website or through other channels. However, these diffuse strategies tend to backfire, primarily because you cannot protect your pics easily this way. The main guarantee you have against people flippantly using your pics is to go through vetted stock photo agencies that have the capability and capacity to curtail improper use of images. Adding your work to one of the major libraries is a great way of letting you take a break from the more administrative headaches around this kind of work.
Actively Protect Your Files
If you’re unsure about going through vetted agencies, then you have another route that many smaller, independent institutions employ regardless. This is by putting a watermark on your images. As a way to protect your files from being stolen online, the professionals at Watermarkly advocate putting this kind of protection on all of your images before posting online. If anyone wants a version without the telltale watermark, they will have to contact you first. This is a great set-up that offers you full control over your content and allows you to respond to requests on a case-by-case basis, at your own pace. It also makes the stealing of original raw files near impossible.
Another step that seems pretty similar to watermarking is employing what is often called advanced barcoding. This is done by investing in a service that allows you to add invisible barcoding for digital images. The software adds a fair amount of what is called “noise” to the image, which creates a barely perceptible – yet somehow completely identifiable pattern – to be splayed throughout the picture. As an added insurance mechanism to the traditional watermarking of files, barcoding is a smart way of implementing another layer of protection through a fingerprint that will allow you to trace who is using the file and how. The image remains traceable, and you can easily figure out anyone using your work without permission. Some content creators are fans of this particular sort of intervention because it acts as additional proof that you are the owner of the said photo, which can be useful if things get heated and you end up finding yourself embroiled in a legal battle.
Whether or not you are a content creator or someone who loves to take pictures and post them online for your own creative gratification, it is useful to know different ways of protecting your images. Things are easily shared and accessible online these days, and while that can be a good thing, it can also lead to lots of online theft.