As most online artists may realize, uploading images of artworks carries a real risk.
They can be easily copied or stolen if artists do not do some anti-theft measures.
I recently found out I had some images of my painting Entwined stolen, without any credit whatsoever to me.
I will show you how I did it, and give some simple tips on how you can protect your art from online art theft right now.
Did you know Google image search has the capability of scanning your images, just like a finger-print reader? It scans the actual image and finds any identical copies throughout the internet.
Using this technology, artists can use an image of their artwork to determine if one identical to it appears on other websites.
How to Find Images Copied onto Other Websites!
This is surprising simple!
Open Google Image Search in your web browser.
This only works in Google Chrome!
Then, go to the the folder on your computer where your image resides.
Drag the artwork to the search bar in Google Image Search, and Drop Image Here appears.
If the photograph appears found on other websites, the results instantly pop up. Most of them could very well be your own postings of art.
As you can see, there are 33 search results for my abstract painting Entwined below.
Now, I have no idea why iceberg paintings automatically appears in the Google search bar, but that really doesn’t matter.
For my results, there was no indication in the Visually Similar Images that my artwork was stolen.
I did not see any copies on the first page at all - only my own sites that had the artwork displayed…. But, I found something very interesting on the third page….
I saw several websites there that wasn’t familiar to me. A couple listings pointed to sites that did not exist anymore, so I could not tell if no credit was given in the past.
But, near the bottom of the page, and some on the next, this showed up….
As you can see, these are Blogspot blogs, but in a foreign language.
I used Google Translate, and found no credit to me at all!
So, I left a message there and asked them to remove it, or give me proper credit.
I have not checked my other paintings and drawings yet to find out if they were stolen, but will soon.
(UPDATE: I recently returned to these pages and my painting did not appear! I also used the same Google search technique using a few other paintings… I had similar results with them… art theft by foreign sites!)
Best Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Art From Online Art Theft
- Make the image resolution small enough so that the image will be impossible to print.
- One thing I like to do these days is to place a link to my blog or my name on some of my art images, at the bottom. That way, if anyone copies it, I would automatically receive free advertising.
- Put your name in the image file title.
- Use a watermark for your images.
- Disable right-clicking with a script.
You should know that most of these methods can be by-passed by online thieves.
But, the most important thing you can do to prevent artworks from being sold elsewhere, is to use small low resolution images.
That way, they may be copied, but the artworks can’t be translated to quality prints.
I have posted more effective ways for preventing online art theft here:
There are many things we as artists can do to fight these art thieves!!
All this is detailed here…