BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Bronwen Justice

Security issues

When posting a picture to my website, how do I insure that my customers can't download or print out my pictures without paying?

To love this question, log in above
1/10/2004 2:30:04 PM

Chris L. Hurtt   If you get a web site or gallery here on betterphoto that is done for you automatically. All your images will be protected for you.

If you have your own site...I don't know. Anyone?

To love this comment, log in above
1/11/2004 4:04:55 AM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  There are several ways around this.

One method is to have scripts on the website determine whether the image is being referenced by the web page or by a direct download. This only works some of the time.

Another method is to use Javascript to disable right-clicking... but this only works sometimes and can annoy some people who just wanted to bookmark your site.

Other people use a watermark on the image. This, I think, is the best method. A water mark is just a faint copyright notice placed at key locations on your image so that people can't just download and print out your image without the watermark present.

Other people will slice up their pictures and assemble them on the webpage with a table so that the picture looks whole, but when people try to download the picture to print it, the picture is not printable without alot of assembly work.

Alot of ways to attempt to protect, each to varying levels of success.

Good luck!

Me? I used to use scripts which replaced the image with a big black X. I then switched to watermarking and placing a copyright notice on the image itself.

I am planning on setting up an automatic system to slice and dice my pictures and resize them so that they are hard to reassemble. :)

Good luck!

To love this comment, log in above
2/8/2004 11:05:00 PM

Mike Pierce   Actually with the newer browsers like Mozilla you can download the image just fine. It still gives you the warning to contact if you want a copy but you still have the options to view the image, copy the image link, save as, etc etc.

To love this comment, log in above
2/9/2004 3:14:30 PM

  Just for a test, I went into Chris's and Wing's members site and was able to right click and copy photo's to my computer and then print them. I did have a warning about for the copy write notice for the photo's but my windows bar came up to able me to save the photo's.

Something to think about. This was very easy. But the photo's that are posted are in a smaller image size,

Need more protection?

To love this comment, log in above
2/11/2004 5:53:01 PM

Wing Wong
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/8/2004
  Really, the only way would be to watermark the images so that even a print will have a visible watermark, making the image unsuitable for reprroduction.

Most images on the site are pretty low-rez. Granted, with some fancy software footwork, you can blow up the small images up to a full 8x10 or more easily, a postcard size.

Having gone down that route, it quickly becomes a job of protecting images instead of making them.

Best bet? Copyright your images and have them registered on file with the Copyright office. When you find an infringer, you can bring charges against them and be done with it.

I've heard of and seen some folk who won't think twice about downloading pics and then redistributing them. Your best bet is to watermark your images with both visible and invisible watermarks when displayed on the web. That way, the image can be traceble and identifiyable.

To love this comment, log in above
2/17/2004 2:12:07 PM

John Kratz   No one mentioned the fact that if you can see the image on your monitor (and right-clicking to save it isn't an option), all you have to do is hit the "print screen" key. Doing so copies exactly what you see on your monitor to the clipboard, and then all you have to do is open MS Paint, paste the image there, crop at will, and save it. Therefore, the watermark/copyright route seems the best way to go.

To love this comment, log in above
3/26/2004 7:17:03 AM

John Kratz   Additional thought: If you use a film camera, you'll have the negative if you ever need to prove that you did take a certain photograph. I don't know how you'd prove it if the image was shot with a digital camera unless the image was still on the camera's storage media.

To love this comment, log in above
3/26/2004 7:38:52 AM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.