Watermark? That IS the Question.

Hello crafters!!!

I have shared with you that I am on a design team and I post cards monthly as samples for a card challenge.  A couple months ago, I posted my card and someone from the design company commented on my  blog.  “Please ensure you a place a watermark across the center of the XXXXXXXXXXX image as per TOU. This needs to be done EVERY TIME you post online to protect the artist and your hard work.” I have been doing some research on image protection and wanted to share some interesting findings.

First, there is terminology to clear up:

  • A watermark is a word, logo, or name placed on the image of a photograph.  The photograph can be a photographer’s mark, or a mark on a picture of something of which the image can be “stolen.”  It is meant to protect the image or to tell someone where the photograph is from.

These are examples of watermarks.  The one on the left is my watermark I place on photographs of my projects.  The one on the left is a photographer’s mark, meant to prevent anyone from copying the picture without paying for it.

  • A trademark is any design, graphic, logo, word, or other distinguishing item that identifies a company and there are legal rights to prevent unauthorized use of the item or service.  Distinctive examples are Kleenex, Band-Aid, and Chap Stick.  Some trademarks become so common they become “regular words” including aspirin, thermos, and escalator.  The difference in watermark and trademark is trademarks are protected legally.
  • A copyright is a law protecting property.  This property can be in many forms like poetry, movies, and music, but for our purposes, it is a photograph.  It protects the “author” from someone taking their property.

Parents and teens are very excited when their senior year in high school approaches.  There is so much to look forward to including prom, class rings, and senior pictures.  The teens take  hours to get ready for the reverent senior picture…one that will adorn the fireplace mantel for years (my girls are still there!).  Imagine the photographer takes an hour and 100 digital shots for the perfect picture.  Mom logs onto the photographer’s web site, right clicks, and saves the perfect head shot.  The photographer is unlikely to get any compensation for his time and equipment.

If the photographer is smart, they will digitally adorn the photographs with “proof,” “do not copy,” or other word of warning so parents cannot copy without paying.  No one can get a copy of the photograph without purchasing it.  You cannot run up to your local copy shop and have them make copies…the pictures are copyrighted and the copy shop will not copy without written permission from the author.

Regarding my card from the design team.  I was warned to watermark the entire image any time I was putting it on the web site.  This protects the digital creater from someone right clicking and saving the image as their own.  Another reason for the watermark is so the picture of your work tells the viewer where to find the artist.

I plan more research on this topic an you will be the first I share it with. Thanks for stopping by!


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