This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

December 16, 2010

Protecting your artwork from being stolen

In spite of the various warnings that you see when you do a Google search for a photo or a drawing, many people ignore copyright. As an illustrator or photographer, there are a few things that you can do.

• Put a "watermark" on your scanned artwork or photo. If you are selling art prints, like my brother wildlife illustrator Roger Hall at does, people will know that their artwork that they buy will not have the watermark on it. It's best to use your web address on a watermark. Every once in a while you will see watermarked artwork being used, and although you can't really stop people from stealing, you can at least make them advertise your web site! Making a watermark is as simple as writing some text on a layer in Photoshop.

• Lead by example. You are an artist and you would like your artwork to be respected. You make your living doing art and if people steal it, you are out of business. Don't steal stuff yourself. Become an advocate of copyright. Don't steal or pirate.

• Include a "terms and conditions" statement on your web page. Be specific about your expectations. Yeah, I know it sounds like overkill, but the reason that copyright notice is given at the beginning of every DVD is so that they can take the bad guys to court and at least have a chance.

• Be reasonable. Many people may just being using your artwork for a personal blog. Asking them to remove your artwork isn't very smart of you - they are supplying you with free advertising. Contact them and ask them for a link to your page. They already like your artwork and most people will be glad to help. If it's being used for commercial purposes, by all means be more strict. Ask for money.

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