Visible watermarks, digital watermarks and photo protection

Started Apr 21, 2010 | Discussions thread
Gary J Jensen Senior Member • Posts: 2,204
Re: Visible watermarks, digital watermarks and photo protection

Ro13 wrote:

I'm interested in placing watermarks on photos that I post on websites.
Several questions for the group:

Do you have to do anything special to officially copyright a photo? DO you just declare it copyrighted?

You don't have to register the copyright and you don't even need to "mark" it; you own the copyright for your original material. This changed after the Copyright Act of 1976; prior to that, you had to register copyrights in order to claim/maintain them.

You still need to register the copyright before you can file suit for copyright infringement; and, the "timeliness" of your registration determines whether or not you can seek "statutory damages" in addition to "actual" damages in an infringement suit.

Is it better to have an invisible digital watermark or a visible watermark?

For posting on the web, a "visible" watermark is more desirable [for obvious reasons]; not all viewers will be able to "read" an invisible/digital watermark [such as the Digimarc watermarking].

What watermark software is good and why?

Photoshop is as good as any. You probably already have it, and it's easy to put the watermark text in a separate layer [which is "merged" into the flattened image when you convert to JPEG]. That way the "original" PSD/TIFF file can have the copyright watermark on a separate layer so you can "hide" it for printing/converting to "clean" images for clients and still use the same file for printing watermarked versions.

Of course, you should always put the relevant copyright information in the image EXIF data whether or not you use a "visible" watermark.

Hope this helps.

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