LLG Tech: Pinterest Updated. Watermarking & Copyright

by Sasha Wilkins on March 4, 2012 · 11 comments

Equipment shirt

You may have noticed that I have started watermarking my photos on LLG. I used to look at other blogs that did this, and think, whoa, self-publicists ahoy! And then, of course, I got it. It’s all because of Pinterest. If your images are being re-pinned all over the internet, often without direct attribution, that’s far, far from ideal.

Because of course if people are disseminating my content – words or pictures – then I want a credit. And think about it: photography is not my main income stream, it’s just a part of my business. Imagine if photography or a digital image library was your career, and your images started popping up, becoming part of the digital conversation with no link or recompense.

At least with watermarking, you are stamping your ownership on the image, ensuring both that it is not published elsewhere without attribution, even if the original ink back has been lost, and ensuring that the image cannot be used commercially.

This issue of copyright on Pinterest is a hot potato now. Both in terms of users violating copyright by the very act of pinning & re-pinning, and in terms of photographers protecting their visual assets. I’ve had several intelligent comments on my previous Pinterest post from readers about this exact issue, so it was interesting to read the following from Venturebeat.com:

“To protect itself from copyright lawsuits, and appease disgruntled photographers and publishers, the young social media company (Pinterest) introduced a snippet of code Monday that website owners can now add to their sites to prevent unwanted pinning. If a person on Pinterest attempts to share something from a site with that code in place, she will see a message that reads: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”

This is definitely a step in the right direction, so I would encourage any photographers to get & add this code to their sites tout suite if dissemination of their images is becoming an issue.  Of course, really dedicated pinners can just right click, but they’ve always been able to do that. So, I would also strongly suggest watermarking all images in the public space so, even if the right clickers continue, at least your photos will a) have your name on them and b) people won’t be able to use them for commercial use, thus violating your copyright.

Oh, and because I am sure someone will ask re: watermarking: I host my images externally on Flickr so, for the time being, I’m using Flickr’s access to Picnik to add watermarks individually. But I’ve just ordered Photoshop Elements 10 which will allow me to batch add watermarks to all my images. (I don’t currently Photoshop or edit any images that you see on LLG bar cropping.)

(There are lots of watermarking software sites & shareware on-line, but I had a look around, signed up some free sites, and decided they were more trouble that  they were worth. It became clear to me that the £60 investment in Photoshop Elements made a whole lot more sense than forking out £25 for just a watermarker software download. Oh and it’s £30 cheaper on Amazon than on the Apple store)

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kylie March 4, 2012 at 12:04

I have had issues with images (not pinterest). Even with businesses using my images to sell products. Professional websites using catwalk images and passing them off as their own last year. Even a magazine website using my family vintage photos without permission, fee or credit. I routinely use Google image search on a bunch of photos and see where they have ended up.

I think the watermark would be great for Pinterest issues, but then again another website using your image my not feel the need to give you link credit as the watermark is there. Then you could loose valuable SEO link juice.

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LLG March 4, 2012 at 13:18

I definitely feel that a watermark is better than no watermark. And I have to say I am more bothered about my photos being pinched than I am about SEO juice.

I also think that, in the long run, the brand awareness, both generally, and from people who actually WANT to visit because they have seen my url on a photo, rather than just blindly following a google link, which they may well bounce straight off, therefore increasing my bounce rate (a bad thing), is much better for me. LLGxx

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Kylie March 5, 2012 at 14:13

@LLG: I have been thinking about it and I might just go through and watermark certain photo’s. I am still a relatively unknown blogger so link juice is oh so important at the moment haha. I don’t want to force link building either.

I am still trying to get my head around bounce rates as a blogger. when I run analytics accounts for e-commerce sites, bounce rates were incredibly important. Funnily enough my post with the highest amount of affiliate sales, is the one with the highest bounce rate (user has found an outfit post through google and clicked out straight away on the affiliate link) oh course I don’t want my blog to become one of those awful affiliate sites, it just finding that balance. Sorry I have completely gone off on a tangent. xx

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Haidee March 4, 2012 at 15:11

Omg I love that glittery collar beautiful :)

http://haideeandco.blogspot.com/

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Michelle March 4, 2012 at 16:47

If you use Picasa which is google’s free photo organising and editing software, you can back add watermarks to your photos. It is quick and easy, though not in an obvious place. It is under file, export files to folder, this opens a box that allows you to resize and add the watermark in one go, a great time saver.

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Sarah March 4, 2012 at 17:48

I really don’t blame you for doing this. One site that really rubs me the wrong way in these regards is Craft Gawker (http://craftgawker.com/). It’s a great site with good ideas. But people post other’s photos on their blogs, submit the post, and get thousands of visitors for a photo that’s not their own. The Craft Gawker moderators are really picky about the photography they accept, but they don’t carefully check that you’re actually submitting your own work. Grrrr.
Love your blog! :)

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Jenna Fifi March 5, 2012 at 06:14

I couldn’t agree with this more! I know it seems really over protective but I to began watermarking my photos. Theres just to many ways to take photos now and as a photographer, this is very worrying. Even though my blog photos are very casual and definitely not portfolio worthy, they are still mine and my thought and creativity went into it. Have you heard of weheartit.com? Its similar in the sense you can download a tool and then click any photo you want on the internet and it saves it. I always hate having to add a name to my images, simply because it takes so much away from it, but it helps people find your blog and stops pinchers!

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Kit March 5, 2012 at 12:56

I had issue in the past when I was a street style blogger, one of my street style pictures was being used by an impostor for an online dating website, the picture was of course watermarked and later tracked down by the subject in the picture’s relative’s friend……long funny story.

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Johnners March 5, 2012 at 17:26

Thanks for this – I have just started using Pinterest, and am enjoying creating a scrapbook of images I really like. However I was also a little uncertain about using photos from all over the place, and also wasn’t sure if they were always going to automatically credit where I found them. While I wasn’t too clear about whether you object to Pinterest entirely, it’s raised my awareness about making sure I credit anything I pin.

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