There are many ways that artist and publishers can help prevent infringements. They may be practical, common sense techniques, technological and/or legal.
We find that many infringing items originate by third parties scanning our members tear-sheets, advertisements and publications. One technological way to slow down an infringer and more importantly to make it easy to identify an infringing work is by using various types of watermarks. While there are a number of sophisticated techniques which are available from commercial companies you can simply take your logo and overprint it on top of an image as seen in the example below.
Then use the overprint on all uses of the image except the actual item sold as a consumer product. If some one makes a direct copy of the overprinted material it will be easy to identify it is an infringement. If through computer manipulation they attempt to remove the logo, they will never get the space covered by the logo exactly right. It will by simple to spot those works as infringements even after they have been manipulated by a computer.
Online Protection – watermarks, right-click disable and image quality.
As an creative business and in this age of very visual social media, it’s almost impossible to not show your art online. Even if you restrict access to your online galleries, if you sell your art on any type of website, your images are out there. Most importantly you must watermark your online images. Here is a great video tutorial from Photshop Tutorials from Phelan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KweeZ2opDM
You can also implement a right-click-disable which stops people being able to simply right click and choose “save image as”. This isn’t a perfect solution. Today with simple screen capture software a right click is easy to work around
You need to manage the quality of your images online. As a rule, never upload images over 72 DPI and keep images small enough to still be seen by your target audience but not so big that it is easily copied.
There are papers which are commercially available, which if one tries to photostat or scan render the resulting image to be either blacked out or having hidden words appear effectively ruining the product. One source for these papers is Document Security and you can find their website at www.documentsecutiry.com. (This information is merely being provided by way of an example and as a convenience. The ACC does not recommend one product or another nor have they researched these products.)
Confronting infringers and letting them know you are aware of their activities and taking affirmative actions against them, and particularly their customers, can help reduce the infringements. Ignoring infringements hoping they go away is self-defeating. We all know that infringing activities won’t go away, however, by pressuring infringers, even if they do not stop infringing generally you can shift their activities to other less aggressive entities. It might be like squeezing a balloon. But at least your company’s works won’t be infringed upon.
If you build a reputation in the community of being aggressive, assertive in protecting your works it works wonders.