One of the most frustrating things about using the internet is that people will always be trying to take your work and then claim is as their own. Fortunately for us, we have actions we can take to defend our designs so that other people can’t steal them. Let’s take a quick look at how we can go ahead and post our designs without needing to worry about them being stolen.
Mark the Images and Designs You want Protected
The first and probably most effective way to ensure no one steals your designs is to add a mark to them that is hard to remove. Usually by posting a transparent version of your domain name or logo on the images, you can easily ward off any thieves that might be lurking around. They can be very hard to remove and even an expert at Photoshop will have some trouble reconstructing the image.
If you are worried about ruining the impression of the image to your viewers, you can place it in an area that might not be as noticeable, but the less noticeable it is, the more likely it will be stolen. What would be better, an image that has a mark on it but is unique and can’t be stolen, or an image that is stolen then used elsewhere? I would say that a small mark wins.
Make Sure Your Contact Information Is Readily Available
A good way to avoid stolen content, is to leave your contact information readily available for people to see. If you have a personal website or a blog, you can let them know about it so they can easily contact you.The biggest excuse people use for taking content is that they were never able to actually get in touch with the original creator. This should never be the case. Although a real thief won’t contact you, innocent people who want to use your designs will. So to help ward off the people that just want to use the images for something, make sure they can contact you.
Add a Copyright Notice
Although it’s not required to claim the copyright, posting a notice will help ensure that everyone knows it is copyrighted and they won’t try and copy anything. Not everyone is aware of all of the copyright laws, so if they don’t see the notice, they might just assume you automatically give people permission to go ahead and take anything they want. Let everyone know your serious and post the notice!
Lower the Overall Quality of Images
So this method might not work for some of you, but it does really well. If you are selling images or designs to people and don’t want to have a mark on them, you can lower the overall quality so that thieves can’t get a hold of the original copy. Then once you find someone interested in the design, you can go ahead and provide them with an original version so they can look at how it is supposed to be. Thieves don’t want to steal something that is low quality, they will just keep looking to find something that’s better.
Have Proof That You Own the Copyrighted Designs
You can always register the designs so that if you ever run into a situation where you need to provide proof that you own the designs, you have them available. This should especially be done to designs that are considered high value and you wouldn’t want to risk them getting stolen. If they do, then you can always take action against the people that stole the design and you have proof to back yourself up.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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