Thoughts on Watermarks & Copyrights

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

Try this for starters

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

Here’s a good article on that

Tools like content-aware-fill make it easy as shown here

Click to enlarge (LR5)

1-12-2014 1-24-45 PM

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

Entries close March 31st; it’s free

Entry details are here

The gallery is here

012D300-_131218_113402__DSC9602_origblogNo watermarked images, please

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