All art is personal; it is an expression of the artist’s thoughts, emotions, and point of view. Whether you are a photographer, a painter, a sculptor, or calligrapher, your art is your creation and it deserves to be protected. If you want to protect your prized images that you’ve gone to the bother of copyrighting, here are three tips to follow.
1. Beware of Microstocks
Many budding photographers and artists believe that offering some of their work up at stock image sites is an easy way to gain notice. Your photos or artwork can be licensed for use and you get residual income as people purchase publication rights. The microstock company keeps a percentage for showing your work and you get your share as well. Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult tracking down all uses of your work online and there is almost no way to tell if your images have been published without permission.
2. Publish Your Works for Sale on Your Own Site
Sites like folio.com get tens of thousands of views a day, making it difficult to track who took what and how they gained access. For example, you were present when the Twin Towers imploded and caught a telling shot. You copyrighted your image and people are still referring to those photos. If you list it on a site with a million plus followers, each license that’s granted has the right to post your photo. Now it can be stolen from that site and it snowballs from there.
If you post your work only on your site it is easier for a team of forensic experts at Secure Forensics, for example, to analyze your site data to follow anyone who has tried to capture an image. They can work from there to follow each of those leads. However, those very same experts have had great success with tracking fraudulent access to microstock sites; it’s just a bit costlier and time-intensive.
3. Always Keep Track of Your Licenses
Although it was alluded to above, you must remember the importance of tracking any licenses you’ve granted. Yes, it’s difficult to track those licenses sold on microstock sites, but not impossible. You can, however, easily track your own clients from your own site if you keep accurate documentation. It is important to follow your work around the Web so that you know where it is published. Just like forensic accountants follow a paper trail when seeking to prove embezzlement, forensic cybersecurity teams can track a trail to find unauthorized publication of your artwork or copyrighted photographs.
These three tips are not exhaustive but they are a great place to start. Talk with the team of forensic experts to find other ways to protect your work. This is your life, your income, and the creative genius behind everything you do. Don’t take cyber theft lightly because it is very real and it happens every day. Get the pros on the job and you will worry less and create more.
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