Friday 2 March 2012

Become image savvy and protect yourself...

It is no secret that I am a Pinterest addict so I have been keeping a watchful eye on the storm that is brewing, first I saw this post by DDK Portraits, she is a photographer and lawyer, she breaks down the legal jargon and helps make sense of it all. Then I see Made By Rae posted about it too, annoyed that pictures of her kids have ended up on Pinterest.

What it all boils down to is the copy write issue and users pinning against the image owners will. I am no lawyer and certainly not a copy write expert and to make things worse copy write law isn't all black and white so I am not even going to go there. These kinds of issues have been raised before with the likes of Facebook and Flickr, if you are really interested in it all there is plenty of info out there, just ask your friend google.

So, what I am going to do is help you become a bit more net savvy with your images. I know, you think they are your images and no one should take them BUT the Internet doesn't play by those rules, deal with it and protect yourself. I have only read good things about the Pinterest founder Ben, he is taking the concerns in hand and has a team of copy write lawyers working on the problems, in the mean time, if you have a blog or you share images online then you really should take these into consideration...

Rule Number One:
If you are not happy with strangers looking at your image of whatever it is, DON'T share it on the internet. 
OK, you post an image, let's say of your child, on your blog. If your blog is a public one it doesn't really matter what you say or do, if someone wants to take that image they can and they will.

Rule Number Two:
Always watermark your image, that way if your image ends up on Pinterest, tumbler or anywhere else at least it has your watermark on it. Yes, a photoshop savvy person can remove the watermark, it isn't that difficult, but generally speaking people are not going to bother. There is a free service here to add watermarks, I don't use it as I do all mine in photoshop.

Rule Number Three:
Use low resolution images. If your image is low res then it limits what someone can do with it, if they plan to steal your image for the front of a printed brochure but it is watermarked and low res they are not going to bother. I copy my image and reduce with the crop tool usually to 5cm x 7cm with a dpi of 150 although you are safe to go down to as low as 72dpi for computer screens. If you don't have Photoshop I am pretty sure you can do it all on picasa.

Rule Number Four:
If you really don't want your images pinned onto Pinterest then you can add a a piece of code to your site, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Don't ask me how, I haven't tried it. I feel that the Internet is there for sharing and I am happy for you to pin my images and I don't mind my images being used on other sites AS LONG AS THEY ARE LINKED BACK. If you are a blogger and you use other peoples images, no matter what the reason you MUST give credit and a link back, it is just rude not to.

Rule Number Five:
If you are on Pinterest, when you make a pin, make sure it is to the actual site where the image belongs and not to the URL where the image is stored. Sometimes when you click on an image it will come up in a new window with it's storage URL like the one below. This is a bad pin because it can't be linked back to the place where it was posted. please bear that in mind when pinning.

So, say you want to track down where your image has been used, there is a very handy site called Tiny Eye, pop in your URL or upload the file, hit search and it will hopefully find the image for you.

Rule Number Six:
For me, this is the most important, NEVER, EVER post images anywhere of a naked or semi naked child, there are a lot of frickin' weird people out there, makes you sick thinking about it yeah? so just don't do it! 

Finally, Flickr are apparently adding code so that if you have your privacy settings set for non sharing then the image will not be able to be pinned. If you use Flickr and are worried about this then check your settings. Go to 'your account' the 'privacy and permissions' and 'allow others to share my stuff'. Whilst you are at it, check your google settings too since they have just changed their privacy policy.

That turned out to be a rather serious post, I hope it helps, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is 'Do I mind if this image gets shared?' If you do, don't post it, simple as that.


  1. Thank you for the lovely guide Jo! Will definitely check out all the links you shared. I have a watermark software giveaway on my blog this weekend I hope you can check it out.

  2. Great info, I like what you have put on your blog about copyright notice on the right hand side of your blog.and that anyone who wants to use any picture or words from another site should ask first, it is not only polite it is also honest. Thanks for this post.

  3. Jo, thanks so much for the info!


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