Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Photos From Theft

Juliet D'cruz

Updated on:


The last and best method to ensure your original photo rights remain in your hands is to register to your national copyright database, with a complete


Social media rage has been on for the past decade or so and the internet is flooded with pictures- of people, places, things, and organizations. Even though it has now become common to upload your pictures online, one should always be careful about picture theft.

Each picture you click has your creative authority on it and cannot be reprinted and sold commercially without your consent. This is called the creator’s copyright or the artistic copyright of the work. Still, there are instances when people reproduce personal pictures without giving due credit to the original creator or taking their permission beforehand. This picture theft sometimes goes unnoticed for the longest time, with people earning big sums of money from someone else’s work.

There are a few ways you can avoid picture theft by securing your identity over the pictures, as is explained below.

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  • Watermarks Work Wonders

Watermarks are unique markers that might be visible or invisible, put over your image to give it its unique identity. Most of the photographer’s and videographers put their signatures in a corner of the images as a watermark. You can also find invisible or transparent watermarks on stock images.

  • Copyright In Metadata

Before you upload or export your image to the web design, make sure you embed copyright information in the metadata of the image properties. Most of the image processing and editing applications have a separate copyright box in the properties box, in which you can easily put in your unique copyright for the image.

  • Read The Fine Print

If you are one of those people who submit their photography and artistic work online, on various websites and portals that are open to public display, make sure that you thoroughly read through the terms and conditions of the website submission. Retain your original files and comb through the fine print to see if your photo copyright would be kept with the platform or if it is open for commercial distribution, under such subscriptions.

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  • Compress Files Before Uploading

Any traditional original photo has a high resolution and can be printed and distributed easily. Make sure to compress your files and change them to lower resolution images. This will not only prevent copying and distribution illegally, but will also be a great way to ensure only you have the original prints or file.

  • Register For A Formal Copyright

The last and best method to ensure your original photo rights remain in your hands is to register to your national copyright database, with complete and original retention of all the rights for that particular work. It helps in legal matters and if you are a professional photographer, you can sell these rights to gain monetary profit as it goes out for commercial distribution.

The important thing to remember is- you have to be sure of your response if you discover any type of infringement. This generally leads to a legal, long-drawn-out battle that can eat into your finances. Therefore, it is always better to protect your original photos by using the above-mentioned methods and ensuring you have the complete rights to commercialize and distribute your photos.