This article is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You should follow Clint on Twitter here.
After my last entry, several people emailed me to point out that it SEEMS that you can protect images online with a program that disables the right-click feature that most people use to save images.
I want to address this issue because this question comes up often. Those right-click disable programs DO NOT protect your images. They don't work on all browsers and, more importantly, right clicking is not the only way to download an image. In fact, as I previously said, when you are viewing an images, it is ALREADY downloaded and on your hard drive. If you use Internet Explorer, it is in your "Temporary Internet Files" folder. I don't like them, because I think some web designers install them for clients who then have a false sense of security, thinking that their images are "protected."
Personally, I think they make it harder for your customers to legitimately download and image while considering a possible purchase, while doing nothing to curb the real "theives." Kinda like the old adage "If we outlaw guns...then only the outlaws will have guns.". As I said before, there is always a risk involved with promoting images of art that you are selling online, but the rewards, in my opinion, outweigh that risk. If you isolate your art marketing efforts by not utilizing the Internet the 'thieves' have truly won. Don't be afraid of selling art online because of the potential copyright infringers. Don't limit yourself. Fears of protecting copyright should not hold you back from exposure.
Inicidently, Bill Frasier, a copyright attorney who writes for Art of the West magazine covers this topic in more depth in the September/October 2005 issue. I encourage you to get a copy and read it (he also discusses the Nigerian Art Scam).
Art of the West Magazine:
As always, comments and questions and even (especially) other points of view are welcome.
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic