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The only foolproof way to keep your images safe is to keep them off the web. However, as digital photographers, we like to share what we've created with others. By combining many different protective measures, you can certainly make it harder for people to steal your photos. Knowing the different effectiveness of these ideas can help you determine how you display your images on the web while protecting your copyright at the same time.
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Disabling Right Clicking
While there is no fool proof way to protect your digital images from being taken by someone with extended web knowledge, disabling the right-click function will deter a casual user from taking your image.
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Fooling the Photo Thief with Transparent GIFs
Another way to deter photo thieves is to create a transparent gif and place it over your photo. When a user right-click's the image, the invisible gif files is saved onto the computer, not your photo. To do this, place your image as the background of the table's cell, while the .gif file is displayed on top of that. Here is an example of how to do place this transparent file into your code:
<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" >
<td background="yourimage.jpg" width="450" height="500">
<img border="0" src="transparent.gif" width="450"height="500">
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More Copyright Information
Another method of protecting your photos is to use watermarks to add your copyright information to a photo. A watermark can be either visible or invisible. Many different programs include methods for adding this level of copyright protection to your photos. For information, read Visible Watermarks and Your Photos. The article offers great explanation of the pros and cons of watermarking as well as links to tutorials on how to do it with various software programs. For general copyright discussion, How to Protect your Copyrights is a great resource.
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Cautions about Using Code to Protect Images
While these codes may seem like good protection for your photos, it doesn't stop the experienced user from using the many ways around this type of protection. Here are a few ways of how to copy pictures which are right-click disabled:
- Someone can just press the printscreen button and use a photo editing program to access it.
- IE6 has a process that enables users to enable the right click function with no regard to what the page code says.
- IE6's Image toolbar makes it extremely easy to grab images from any website.
- Someone with coding knowledge can view your source code and find the location of your photo and copy it that way.