How To Protect Images You Post Online From Image Theft

protect image from theft with a watermark
Protect image from theft with a watermark

More than 80% of the images uploaded and posted on the internet are stolen or used without permission from their photographers or owners. With the popularity and fast growing improvement of the Internet, it is very easy for users to download, copy, use, and redistribution.

We will have a look at different ways you can use to protect your assets from theft, but first we need to know how to find your stolen images.

How to Find Stolen Images

The first thing you need to know is that not all people have intention to steal your images. Sometimes many bloggers or publishers don’t know what they have done wrong. They don’t know that they cannot use your images in the blog posts, presentations, documents, and other materials. They also don’t know that they have to ask for your permission or leave a credit to the original creators.

You can find your images used by someone else in various ways. Here are a few ways you can try.

1. Stumble Across It

Although it sounds unusual but sometimes you can stumble across your stolen images. The more content you post online and the more images you share, the more often you can find your images online, especially your best images. The image can be in Google Image search, an online article, a social media post. Sometimes you can find your image in banners or advertisements.

2. Reverse Image Search

There are several online tools that you can use to search for the stolen images. You can try TinEye, PicSearch, Google Image Search, Bing Search.

TinEye is the first image search engine that helps you websites that copy your images. You can upload or drag and drop your images to start your search. You can also use an URL to start the reverse image search. The tool will crawls the web and find your stolen images.

You can also use PicSearch, Google or Bing Image search to find your images. Some websites will not change your file name, so it is easier for you to use the name to search. PicSearch is not so pupolar now. Google and Bing are still the leading search engines.

3. Use a Backlink Monitoring Tool to Find Your Image

You can use a backlink monitoring tool to find your images. There are many tools out there like Ahrefs, Spyfu, Semrush. They are all leaders in the industry.

You can use the tools to check whether sites leave a link in the stolen image or not. This is called “hotlinking”. Hotlinking means that a website will display an image that is linked from another source/image hosting. The link will get all the data whenever the page is loaded or the image is requested for access.

How to Protect Images From Theft

Now we will explore some ways to help you prevent your image from theft.

1: Never Upload Your Photos in High-Resolution

There are several research and studies that have shown an interesting fact. The most stolen images are often high-resolution images (Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels). If you want to protect your images, try to avoid uploading high resolution images. The thieves will not want to steal your images.

Besides, you can try to resize or reduce the image quality before uploading. Some low-resolution images will not look good on high-resolution screens. And this will demotivate thieves.

2: Clearly State that Your Images Are Copyrighted

Another method you can combine with other strategies is to clearly state that your images are copyrighted on your website and social media accounts.You can also mention the licenses of your images and include some warnings if people violate the licenses. You can clearly mention that illegal use of your photos will lead to serious fines

Although this statement will not fully protect your pictures from theft, but it will make some people worry about using your images without your consent.

3: Include the Copyright Owner and Source in the Image Itself

You can mention on your website that they must credit to you or leave a link to your original source if you plan to make some photos free to use. Actually it can be a good marketing strategy for you.

However, you can also include information about your copyright owner and source in the images. Despite the fact that the information can be easily cropped out, but you should do that if you don’t worry about the quality of your images. If your clients and people want to use your original photos, they should contact you to purchase the premium or high-resolution photos.

This will lead to our next method: watermarking your images.

4: Protect Your Images with a Watermark

You can make a watermark and add it to the images before uploading to the web. You can find some tutorials on the web on how to do it. Here on Watermarkup, we also create some tutorials for you to add watermark to your pictures.

You can use our application to add watermark to many pictures at the same time. That will save you a lot of time and energy.

Many potential thieves will not want to use watermarked images for their personal and commercial purposes. So watermarking your images can be a good strategy for you. And please make sure that your watermark is not easily removed by choosing a proper position.

5: Overlay Your Image with a Transparent File

Another method is to put a transparent file over your image. The file has the same format with your image. This way will prevent image thieves from downloading your photos by right-clicking or to copy or open the images in new tabs to save to their computers. This method also works if you know HTML.

However, some image thieves still can download your images by using some software that can scrapes all the images from your websites. And they can also find the screenshots of the images via Google Image Search.

6: Block Right-Click Functionality

Blocking right-click option is a useful way to prevent your images from being stolen by users. When you don’t allow this feature on your website, users will find it extremely difficult to save your images.

If you are using a WordPress website, there are many plugins to help you do that quickly and effortlessly.

However, this method has its downsides. Other useful options will not be available when you disable this features. And some users still take screenshots to capture your images.

Although it is not a perfect way to protect your images from theft. But it is still worth-trying.

7: Use Plug-Ins to Stop Screenshots

As we mentioned earlier, some users still can find ways to steal your photos. And there is an easy way to do it. That is to take screenshots of your pictures. However, you can try some plugins to disable it or prevent a page from being taken screenshots.

If you are using WordPress websites, you can find some plugins for it. One example of this is the No Right Click image plugin from WordPress. The plugin will disable taking a screenshot of your image.

But if you upload your photos other websites and platforms, this way can’t help you protect your photos.

8: Upload Your Images Part-By-Part

There is another intelligent way to protect your images. That is to upload your images part-by-part. Some call it “section-by-section”. It means that thieves cannot download immediately. They have to download each part of your image and join the parts into an original image.

Some thieves will find it difficult and don’t want to pursue stealing your photos. But the downside of this way is that Google may not index or show your images in its Seach Results. And this downside can lead to a decline in your traffic, and maybe the sales.

(to be continued, we are updating this article)

Summary

It is obvious that you should protect your images on your website. If you have already invested a large amount of work, energy, and money in your images, you should find ways to protect them too. We expect that now you have understand several ways to protect your images.

What has been your experience with your photos being stolen? Feel free to discuss with us or let us know.

If you liked this article, we really appreciate if you can share it with anyone who needs it. We will fight against image theft together.

How to Report Stolen Photos on Facebook

How to report stolen photos on Facebook
How to report stolen photos on Facebook

Nowadays, many people complain that their images on Facebook are stolen and used for other purposes. 

Stealing photos are one of the main problems users have to deal with while using Facebook. Many content thieves are willing to take your images and use them for their profiles. 

But Facebook and other social media platforms also have solutions to solve these problems and they will take any actions to remove the stolen photos. They will even ban the accounts that will steal other images. 

Facebook and other social media platforms have their policies that are related to copyright and privacy. They have always helped you if you need something to report and their support team can help you if you contact them directly. 

How to report the stolen photos on Facebook

You need to follow the steps below to report to Facebook that your images were stolen. 

  1. Find the photos on their Timelines or in their “Photos” section.
  2. You need to click on the post or the photo to make a pop-up appear. The popup will show the post, photos, and comments.
  3. From here, you can click on “Options”. It is near the “Tag photo” and “Send in Messenger”. You can find the options at the bottom of the images. The options are also near “Like”, “Comment”, “Share”.
  4. You choose “Find support” or “Report Photo”. After that, you can continue the steps to report the stolen photos to Facebook and they will take some actions and notify you later.

You can also try another way to report the violated photos on Facebook by filling a form to contact the Facebook team.

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/144059062408922?ref=u2u

You can choose “Photo” for the first question, “Other photo” or “Profile Picture” for the second question. 

Consider watermarking your photos before posting on Facebook

Image and content theft are now not rare. They can steal your photos and other content without hesitation. 

Another way to protect your photos is by watermarking your photos before posting on Facebook. When you do that image thieves will find it hard to use your images again somewhere else. 

You can use different image editors or watermark software to add text and logo to your photos. Watermarkup is a good online watermarking tool that helps to watermark your photo easily and quickly. The application runs in your web browser, and you don’t need to download or install it. You can use the application for free to watermark multiple photos at the same time.

Don’t post your original images with high quality on Facebook

Because your photos are easily stolen, so it is better if you can reduce the size of the images and keep your high-resolution images private. By doing that, the thieves will not have your original files and if a dispute happens, you will have the rights and proofs to prove that you are the owners of the photos.

If you are worried about the photos you share on Facebook that may be stolen, you had better not share them or only share the photos that are not important. 

How to Prevent Your Website from Image Theft

product photos
 a product photo

In this digital era, nowadays everyone can copy and download images, videos, software from the Internet to their computers. And it is easy to duplicate or replicate the files from one version to many clones. Users can simply copy and paste to achieve the task.

People can steal your images from your website and social media accounts very easily. Some will use them for personal purposes, but unfortunately, many others will use the photos for commercial purposes. Many online stores are complaining that their product images were stolen and used by other shops. You have invested your time and money in the photos and now they are being used by others without your permission.

How people steal images from the web

  1. It is very easy for people to download or save images from the web to their computers and drives. They can simply right-click on the image they want, and they can choose “Save images as…” and the image will be downloaded to their computers. 
  2. Some people will use the web browser to download all the web page. And in the downloaded folders, there will be your photos. They can choose “Save page as…” to do so. 
  3. Many stock photos are now shared on illegal websites and hosting. Users can go there and download them. 
image theft
image theft

How you will be affected if someone steals the assets

  1. First, you will be very angry about that. You invested time and money to take the pictures and bring them to the world. 
  2. If you are selling your products online, your competitors and other online stores will use them for their websites. Customers will be confused because of the same product photos in many stores. Your brand and business will be affected a lot. 
  3. If they are scamming people to get the money, customers will lose their trust and no longer believe in the stores that have the same product photos. 

How to prevent your website from image theft

  1. Disable right-click option on your website. The Right-click option is the simplest way to download and save images from computers and drives. So if you disable this feature, users will find it hard to save your photos. Many CMS platforms are providing their users with many useful tools to disable the option. If you are using WordPress, Shopify, or BigCommerce, many plugins help you do that. You can search in the WordPress plugin store and find some good ones. If you are running custom made websites, you can hire developers to help you do that. 
  2. Adding a copyright notice and the usage permission related to your images. Add an announcement about the permission of your photos will be a good thing to notify your users. If you specify the rights and the limitations of your image usage, they will not dare to steal your images and use them for their purposes.
  3. Watermark your photos. This is a useful way to protect your photos. When they see your watermark and brands, if they save and download, they cannot use them for their websites. Moreover, watermarks are good ways to promote your website and products. There is much software that helps you watermark your photos. Several applications help you add watermark to each photo separately. Other applications help you watermark batches of photos at the same time. 
  4. Never share high-resolution quality images. It is a useful way to protect your photos. Users can only download your compressed versions of your images. And of course, the qualities are not good enough as the original versions. When you own your originals, you still have the right to control what you have.
  5. Add a DMCA notification to your website. This is another way to show your visitors that your website, content, and photos are protected by DMCA. This will discourage thieves from trying to steal your images. 
  6. If you are a photographer and planning to submit your photos to photography websites, you should read carefully the instructions, licenses and what they would do with your images. Do the websites allow users to download your photos for free or low-resolution photos?

In general, it is easier and easier for people to download and save images from the Internet nowadays. But to ensure that your photos will be protected and not be downloaded illegally, you should combine all the above-mentioned ways we suggested in the article.