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You spend hours upon hours getting the perfect photo. You love everything about it and can’t wait to showcase it everywhere possible – your website, blog, Facebook, Instagram, Google+. Then your worst nightmare as a photographer happens – a few months later you notice your photo is being shared around, but with absolutely no credit to you as the photographer. In the digital age we’re living in, this scenario happens all too often. How do you protect yourself against this type of situation? Watermarking images is a constant debate in the creative community. In this post we will explore the pros and cons of watermarking. We will also lay out a few other easy options to protect your work.
Pros of Using Watermarks
Beyond helping to protect your images from theft, watermarking your images can serve a few other purposes:
Cons of Using Watermarks:
Watermarking the Right Way:
In an effort to combine the best of both worlds, here are some quick tips for watermarking your images in a way that allows you to enjoy all of the pros and experience few of the cons.
Let’s take a look at some easy alternatives to watermarking your images that will still provide you some protection from theft.
Lastly, make sure you are educated on the tools out there to help you keep track of your images. TinEye is a service that allows you to submit an image to find out where it came from, how it is being used, and if modified versions of the image exist. Google Image Search is also an easy and free way to track your images – you can enter the URL or upload your image to see where it’s been or see any images that look similar to it. Whether you choose to watermark your images or not, it is always best to make sure you register your photos with the US Copyright Office.
Now that the initial flood of images from Haiti is subsiding a bit, photographers and bloggers are taking the time to go back and analyze the coverage from a visual perspective. It seems indicative of our shortened news cycles that we’re already looking back a few weeks after the deadly earthquake, but we’re happy to see it nonetheless. The most focused analysis happens on the BAGnewsNotes blog on Sunday February 7, when creator Michael Shaw will be hosting a “salon” titled “Haiti Aftermath: A Look Back at the First Week” with professors Loret Steinberg, Nathan Stormer, and Fred Ritchen and photographers Alan Chin, Erin Siegel, Aric Mayer, Tim Fadek, Chris Hondros, and Willie Davis. Chris Hondros has also shared his reflections on his time in Haiti in this slideshow for Foreign Policy and Colin Finlay discussed working in the country during a live event Thursday on LinkedIn.
Shepard Fairey is once again in the news since a judge announced recently that he’ll face criminal investigations after admitting in October that he “knowingly submitted false images and deleted others during the case in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his ‘Hope’ poster of then-Sen. Barack Obama,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
After two years of research by members Richard Anderson and Peter Krogh, ASMP announced the launch of its dpBestflow.org website at FotoWeekDC earlier this week. Shorthand for “Digital Photography Best Practices and Workflow,” the website, part of the three-tier project that includes a book and a traveling seminar series, aims to offer definitive guidelines for digital photography best practices and workflow.
Forbes Media announced yesterday that it has acquired digital magazine FlipGloss and its Digital Glossy Insert photo publishing platform. Launched about 8 months ago, FlipGloss combines search engine capabilities with the experience of flipping through photo content of a magazine, and users can click on objects in the photos to find out where to purchase an item or even be led to an advertiser’s website.
Wes Anderson’s new movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which opens in selected theaters today, is a stop-motion picture shot entirely using a Nikon D3 – over 600,000 stills that generate 18.5 terrabytes of data. According to movie review website IMDb, the beautifully art-directed adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic used Nikon D3 because it “offers a significantly higher resolution than even that of full High Definition.” Wired.com has a great “Making of” the movie here.
Google has cut the price for extra storage on its photo sharing site Picasa to about one eighth of what it used to cost. For $5 a year, now you can have 20GB photo storage on the site. “Since most people have less than 10GB of photos, chances are you can now save all your memories online for a year for the cost of a triple mocha,” according to the official Google Photos Blog.
A Photo Editor pointed us to some hopeful news about the future of the media industry. Maggwire.com is planning to charge readers a subscription fee to access a channel where they can get content from a large number of top magazines. On the other end of the spectrum, San Francisco-based McSweeney’s announced that they’re releasing a single-issue “21st-Century newspaper prototype” called San Francisco Panorama in December. It’s big and beautiful and nothing like a website — that’s the point.
The judge in the ongoing Google book settlement case ruled this week that photographers are not authors and therefore cannot be included as part of the settlement, according to TechCrunch. The motion to join the current settlement between Google and the Author’s Guild was brought earlier by ASMP, the Picture Archive Council of America, the Graphic Artists Guild, and several individual photographers.
Germany’s most popular women’s magazine, Brigette, confirmed with The Guardian that from 2010 on, it will be banning professional models from its pages and use only women with normal figures. Andreas Lebert, editor-in-chief of the magazine, said that he is tired of having to retouch pictures of underweight models to “fatten” them up. Conscientious has more on the story.
Last Wednesday, Toyota posted an apology on the Flickr forum admitting that they have been using pictures from Flickr without photographer permission. They have since removed the Flickr photos from their 4Runner website. PDN reported that Toyota USA’s ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi Los Angeles, has reached out to at least one of the Flickr photographers involved.
Kodak’s new brand campaign named “It’s Time to Smile,” focuses on strengthening relationships by sharing important life moments, in pictures of course. Behind the happy message, though, is a not-so-cheery outlook. After thousands of layoffs and salary cuts earlier this year, the company reported yesterday its fourth quarterly loss in a row, PDN reported.
Jorge Colberg at Conscientious alerted us to an interesting interview with William Patry, senior copyright counsel at Google and author of a number of books on copyright law, including his recent Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars. The interview covers topics from the AP-Fairey lawsuit to the moral imperative of copyright.
Popular news site The Daily Beast, in partnership with Global Philanthropy Group, has launched a philanthropy and photography site, The Giving Beast. Be sure to check out the galleries, featuring works of Sarah Elliot, Elizabeth Gilbert, Suzy Allman and other note-worthy photographers.
Despite some questions about its longevity, the New York Photo Festival will launch its third year in 2010, as Andrew Hetherington reported this morning on What’s the Jackanory? Lou Reed will be one of the lead curators this year, but Andrew tips his hat to Erik Kessels, whose 2008 NYPH conversation with Martin Parr was a highlight. We’re stoked about photo thought leaders Vince Aletti and Fred Ritchin (check out this excerpt from Ritchin’s recent book, too).
Prix Pictet announced yesterday that the winner of this year’s photography prize for environmental sustainability goes to British based Israeli photographer Nadav Kander, whose project Yangtze, The Long River Series documents the changing landscape along China’s Yangtze River. Pictet also awarded a photography commission to RESOLVE contributor Ed Kashi, who will fulfill Pictet’s annual commission this year in Madagascar.
Vincent Laforet released his latest short film, Nocturne, shot with a prototype Canon 1D MKIV on Monday, but was asked by Canon to take it down the following day, he explained on his blog. Photo Business News and Fake Chuck Westfall both took Canon Japan to task for the move. If you didn’t catch Nocturne before it was taken down, it’s on YouTube, of course.
And the drama goes on. After Shepard Fairey admitted last week that he had lied about his source of his Obama image, the Associated Press released a statement on Tuesday that they are challenging Fairey’s account in court as “purposely deceiving.” Excerpts of AP’s most recent court filings and the letter Fairey’s attorneys sent to the AP are available at PDN.
Jen Bekman Projects, the innovative creator of the 20×200 prints store and the Hey, Hot Shot! photo competition, received $800K+ in venture capital funding. The series A funding was led by California-based venture capitalist True Ventures, along with a other angel investors.
A shocking revelation has just come to light in the ongoing battle between Sheppard Fairey and the Associated Press. The Associated Press released a statement last night claiming that Mr. Fairey knowingly submitted false images to the legal proceeding between Mr. Fairey and the Associated Press. Furthermore the statement reveals “that Fairey tried to destroy documents that would have revealed which image he actually used” and that “he created fake documents as part of his effort to conceal which photo was the source image, including hard copy printouts of an altered version of the Clooney Photo and fake stencil patterns of the Hope and Progress posters.”
This case started back in February when the Associated Press claimed that the source image Mr. Fairey used for his iconic “Hope” and “Progress” posters of then Senator Barack Obama did in fact belong to them. They also claimed that Fairey’s use of the image was a copyright infringement. Before The Associated Press could file a law suit against Mr. Fairey, Fairey’s legal team filed a suit against The Associated Press claiming fair use exception and that the image Fairey used as his source was completely different than the one The Associated Press declared was theirs.
At this juncture it’s worth mentioning that there is a valid dispute between the Associated Press and Mannie Garcia, the photographer who shot the image in question, as to who is the legal copyright holder of the photograph. Although that disagreement has little bearing on Mr. Fairey’s illegal actions announced today.
As I first wrote here at RESOLVE, Fairey’s use of the image without giving attribution to the photographer was detrimental to the entire creative community. It will be hard to predict the impact from this latest twist in an already bizarre story. Mr. Fairey’s legal counsel apparently jumped ship after submitting the admissions about his evidence tampering to the court.
Irving Penn, one of the masters of photography, died Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at the age of 92 at his home in Manhattan. Penn leaves behind him a wealth of iconic imagery, from portraits of cultural leaders to obsessively exact still lifes. Photography Now has a great selection of Penn’s work online and the Getty Center in Los Angeles is showing Penn’s exhibition “Small Trades” now until January 10, 2010.
Scientists Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, inventors of CCD (charge-coupled device), will be sharing this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics with Charles K. Kao, the “Father of Fiber Optics.” Although the duo had moved onto other research projects, their discovery made digital imaging possible, from point-and-shoots to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Both Outside and Esquire launched a moving magazine cover this month, with the full videos available on their websites. Alexx Henry, the photographer behind the new Outside cover, made a name for himself doing a “Living Movie Poster” for the movie Mrs. Washington. It’s the second time Greg Williams has shot a moving cover for Esquire, after the first one featuring Transformer star Megan Fox.
Fashion label Ralph Lauren landed in hot water this week with a “poor imaging and retouching” job on one of their advertising images. After Boing Boing brought attention to a photograph of already thin Filippa Hamilton photoshopped to unltra skinny, Ralph Lauren’s legal department sent the blog a take down notice. Bad move. Now The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Jezebel and ABC News have jumped on it. PDN has the details.
World Press Photo just launched an archive of 10,000+ photos by the 1,372 photographers from 79 nations who have been honored by the contest since its inception in 1955. Images are searchable by year, photographer, nationality, organization, category, or award.
Victoria Espinel, who President Obama appointed the the first U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, is winning praise from several groups, including the Copyright Alliance, which includes a number of photographer organizations. PDN has more on the story.
The Guardian reports that Richard Prince’s Spiritual America exhibition, due to open yesterday at London’s Tate Modern, was withdrawn Wednesday after the organizer received a warning from Scotland Yard that a nude photograph of a 10-year-old Brooke Shields could violate obscenity laws. The work caused no major controversy when it was shown in 2007 at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
The folks behind the DLK Collection blog informed us that Bono gave a big shout out to photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, whose photo was used as the cover art for U2’s latest album during a concert at Giants Stadium. “When was the last time the biggest rock star on the planet interrupted one of his signature songs in a stadium full of screaming people to give a shout out to a fine art photographer?”
Kira Pollack, former deputy photo director at the New York Times Magazine, has been named the new director of photography for both the print and web versions of Time magazine, starting on October 5th. The New York Times Lens blog has an article highlighting Pollack’s career and a slide show showcasing some of her most memorable projects for the magazine.
Former Getty director of entertainment Frank Micelotta this week announced the launch PictureGroup, a new entertainment stock agency. The company has also created a strategic alliance with the Associated Press whereby they each will distribute content through the others platform.
Daryl Lang at PDNPulse raised a good point about the shifting style of news magazine photo editing in response to David Hume Kennerly’s reaction to his cropped photo of Dick Cheney in Newsweek magazine. There’s some good discussion on the PDN post as well.
Starting this week, iStockphoto will offer legal protection of up to $10,000 to any customers who buy images from the company. Customers looking for additional protection can purchase up to $250,000. Other stock companies, including Getty Images, who owns iStockphoto, offer similar protection, but it seems particularly pertinent in a space with less oversight and downloads by more media-law novices.