This year I noticed that some of my photos were used by other people and businesses. The first time I came across one of my photos, it was on Alibaba. I immediately knew it was taken from my Etsy shop, because it even included my original description. (See my original in my Etsy shop here )
It made me question the authenticity of a lot of other photos on internet shops. A much more worrying thought was, what would my customers think! Would they question my authenticity as well and how can I stop the unauthorized use of my original photos? Shortly after I found another seller, one from Etsy no less, advertising her custom orders on Facebook with my photos. This time I requested her to take down the photos from her Facebook page, which fortunately she did.
I love to share my pictures and I have regularly posted photos of my products on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr for years. I like to show what I have made and don’t mind people using my pictures if they attribute it correctly and link to the source (me). I know it’s part of the risk of posting your images online that other people will use them without attribution, but I didn’t quite count on people passing off my products as their own.
After those two incidents (that I know of) I reluctantly decided to henceforth watermark all of my photos. My daughter was so kind as to watermark all the current photos on my site and I started watermarking all of my photos in my shops. It’s a lot of work and I really did not like to modify my carefully taken photographs with a watermark all over the picture.
It took a lot of trial and error before I was satisfied 😉 I tried out several styles and layouts and finally chose one I deemed acceptable. Below are some samples. I finally settled for a watermark in the lower right corner.Charlotte’s Law (Dutch).
There’s also a good article about photo copyright on Steve’s Digicams (English)