Content theft on the Net is very, very common and many webmasters are right to be furious when they see their content stolen and posted on another site. While not all types of content can be protected against theft, images (and videos) are some of the content types that can be protected. Watermarks are one of the best image protections available.
Why Images Need Watermark Protection?
Watermarks are small pieces of text or graphics a webmaster puts on an image in order to mark this image as his or her property. Generally watermarks are logos but they could be anything else.
Watermarks are not a 100% protection against image theft. However, in practice they are a very reliable tool against unauthorized use. When an image is watermarked, it is next to impossible to remove the watermark. Therefore, if a thief wants to use the image, he or she has no choice but to use it together with the watermark (i.e. the logo of the site where the image was stolen from).
There are several ways to add a watermark to an image. Some image editing programs, such as GIMP or Adobe PhotoShop have a watermarking functionality or with some additional efforts can be used to add watermarks.
The second way is to use special watermarking software. This software could come in the form of an online service or a desktop application. Free watermark tools provide some basic protection but often this is all an image needs. Commercial watermark software offers more – images can be processed in batches rather than one by one, there are more options for the watermark, etc.
Tips How to Effectively Use Watermarks
No matter if a webmaster chooses to use an online watermark service or a desktop application, there are some useful tips to have in mind:
1. Put the watermark where it can protect. The purpose of a watermark is to protect the image. For instance, if the watermark is in a corner, it is easy to cut it from the image and that is why the image ends with no protection. Placing the watermark in the center is better, though sometimes this could literally kill the image.
2. Put watermarks on an object. In addition to placing the watermark where it can protect, it is also good if to place it over the object, which needs protection. A watermark can be put on the face of somebody (i.e. at least to touch the face, not to splash it all over from ear to ear) or on any other object, which is valuable to the image and which (if not protected) could be cut from the image and used separately.
3. Choose the colors of the watermark carefully. When the watermark is placed in the center of the image, or on a valuable object, this usually means that the watermark becomes very, very visible. Sure, if the colors used are bright and if the font size is enormous, there is no way not to notice the watermark but this is not what a designer would love. The watermark should be visible, yet it mustn’t be the most visible object in the image. That is why the watermark should neither too bright, nor too pale, neither too large, nor too small.
If used properly, watermarks are a reliable tool to protect an image from online thieves. Yes, it is not a 100% protection but still it is better than nothing!