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Protecting Copyrighted Images Revisited

by Clint Watson on 8/31/2005

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.


Clint Watson
Software Craftsman and Art Fanatic


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Related Posts:

How to Avoid Online Artist Predators

Copyright Registration: Protecting Yourself as Well as Your Collectors

How do we protect our copyrighted images on the Internet?

Right-Click Disablers are Annoying and Don't Work

Topics: Clint Watson | copyright 

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Loading comments...

via web
You're right. I forgot about the temp store. Interesting info about the
repainting effort.

Bill RW Cooke
via web
Also there are screen grabs, which although are low res can be used to copy works. The photoshop people have a way of embedding a digital copyright into online images, which goes quite a way towards legal protection, and you can trace the images if someone else uses them online (see, but its expensive, especially down here in Australia.

Bill RW Cooke
via web
If we outlaw art, only artists would paint. Point well made however. Makes me want to go to ebay and window shop however.

Clint Watson
via web
test comment

Clint Watson
via web
test at 1:15

Carol Ann Rogers
I appreciated your artical re: copying art. I would like to have some information on how you go about finding out if someone is copying? I had a gentleman say he purchased a copy of one of my paintings online....didn't give me the copiers info. though, for fear of reprisal. I would like to know if these persons are still copying, or if others are but, I don't have any idea of how do do go about this.

Thank you,
Carol Ann

Spencer Meagher
I have begun the process of reviewing all of the archived blogs. It is interesting to see how the commentors names are not the same. I'm looking forward to discovering all the treasures that lay in these old articles.

Ruth Housley
Clint, I do not agree that others should scape so to speak of our images from our websites and then maybe sell them or use our blogs too and make a profit from them. This is wrong and I dont' like it one bit. What is the use to have a website if we continue to get our images stolen from us.

Ruth Housley
Clint, I also think that if you intend to reveal these companies we should be able to know about this too. I would applaud you if you
do reveal them.

Clint Watson
Ruth - question - are you OK with Google making copies of your images and text and linking back to you?


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