The Internet has totally changed the way artists can share, promote and sell their artwork. You can post your art on social networking sites like Facebook, create your own website, or submit your pieces to special artist’s forums and online galleries.
This is great—but also risky. Many artists are afraid that their work will be digitally stolen, as someone else downloads the file and then passes off the work as his own. Here are some ways to protect your artist copyright.
Add a watermark
Use photoshop or another design software to add a subtle watermark to your image. This makes the image totally useless to anyone else who downloads it. While it is possible to remove the watermark, most people don’t know how to do it, or simply won’t bother to go through that extra step. They’ll just find another image to copy—sad, yes, but that’s beyond your control. At least you’ve protected your own work.
Restrict download of an image
Some websites allow you to restrict downloads. Anyone who tries to get the image will receive a message that the action is not permitted. The best they can do is to copy the thumbnail, but that’s usually too small to be useful. Others may try to get the webpage source code, but that’s also another extra step that most people are not willing to take.
Add a copyright
You can add a text box on your image that give your name and copyright guidelines. For example, you can provide a website that they can contact for any inquiries on how to use or share it. In sites like Flickr, you can also check if the image is available under creative commons, and indicate whether it can be reproduced or altered.
Share in Flash format
This file format is harder and more tedious to copy.
It’s worth the risk
These precautions can help protect your copyright or make it more difficult for others to break it. But there will always be a risk. The fact is, it’s a risk worth taking. A struggling artist can build a fanbase and reach potential clients by sharing works on the Internet and creating an online portfolio. While works can be copied, the original is still yours—and can be sold. This is a lot more than what you would’ve gotten if your art gathered dust, unknown, in your studio.
Photo from spreadshirt.com
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