Another reason to be vigilant of your online images

It used to only apply to professional photographers, but not any more.

The average camera owner or hobbyist who uploads their images to picture sharing sites like Flickr, the world’s largest presently, are finding that not everyone online respects intellectual property.

It’s downright unfair, dishonest and clearly is theft.

It’s especially despicable when these thieves are making money off your image.

The Stolen Scream: A Story About Noam Galai from FStoppers on Vimeo.

As Noam Galai, our victim of the thievery, points out, he isn’t so concerned or upset about the folks who make derivative work of his original photograph for art’s sake, or even the folks who were recently fighting for their freedom in those nebulous parts of the Middle East.

I use the word nebulous only because I think Galai said Iran in the video, but it might be factually incorrect since Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Tunisia are the countries in flux currently.

As a photographer, I think that would be the epitome of cool to have a picture I took become some sort of icon for liberation from tyranny.

But Galai is understandably upset at those low lives who used his image to sell t-shirts and magazines.

Come on, a picture of someone screaming isn’t that hard to take. It’s just plain laziness on the part of those IP (intellectual property) thieves.

I understand that there are no 100% safeguards once something is put online.

Even with websites made with flash, watermarking, disabling of hot-linking, there are ways around those.

All you can do is never ever upload the highest resolution images.

Policing your work online takes lots of effort. Just ask any blogger.

If bloggers spent all their effort and time, constantly doing that, the internet would have very little original content.

Having said that, I think Aaron Johnson, creator of  What the Duck cartoon has a great solution.

Best anti-theft strategy for photographers

On a personal note, I don’t mind paying $100 a year to have peace of mind my full resolution images won’t be downloadable.

I use Zenfolio as a way to backup my pictures online as well since my plan has unlimited backup.

More info about their various tiered plans are here.

They offer a free trial. If you do sign up, use this promo code:E8N-2QA-7WV and we’ll both get a break on own annual dues.

For Mac users, the paid MobileMe service offers quite a few advantages besides easy sharing of pictures online.

You also get the ability to seamlessly sync calendars, bookmarks, mail between devices.

Many thanks to my buddy Tony Blei for bringing this video to my attention. I’m just echoing his thoughts.

He’s more colorful, imaginative and funnier.