Summary – What does a watermark add to copyright protection? Not much, if anything. Disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer; caveat emptor.
There’s lots of information available on copyrighting photographs
Now my question to you:
Q – Does adding a watermark to a photo change your rights?
A – No, it doesn’t
Does putting your name on your camera
Make stealing it any more of a crime?
No – nor does placing a watermark on your photo
The copyright is the same regardless
There may be good reasons for using watermarks
Advertising is one that comes to mind
(but – The value of ads to amateurs is questionable)
However, if all you do is place © John Doe 2014 on the image
With no further contact info
That’s not a useful ad
Better to use standard image meta-data options to
Tell potential buyers/users how to contact you
There actually are people who might ask for permission
If it were easy to know who/where you are
Be assured though – You can’t stop a determined thief
As soon as you post an image anywhere on the internet
You’ve lost control
Odds are that you’ll never even know it’s been taken
and – if you do, are you willing to go to court?
How about if the thief is in another country?
But you say – “The watermark will show that it’s mine
and – it will limit its usefulness”
Dream on – It’s a simple matter to remove most visual watermarks
Tools like content-aware-fill make it easy as shown here
Click to enlarge (LR5)
Cropping often works, too
Use watermarks if they serve your needs
So long as your needs aren’t copyright protection
A watermark doesn’t alter your copyright status
Nor does it protect against use of your photo by others
Don’t forget the International Abstract Photography Exhibit
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