Even though imitation is the greatest form of flattery, it can be quite harrowing for artists to see their work be used without their permission for financial gain which they do not get the benefit of. Copyright for artists can be quite the dry subject to broach, however it is important to talk about now than ever. As a contemporary artist, whenever you create a tangible piece of art it is automatically considered your intellectual property which means that you have the right to artistic protection and no one is permitted to reproduce, publish or profit from it without your approval.
Despite this there is always a sizeable risk of your hard work being used without your knowledge or will, otherwise known as copyright infringement. This can take the form of your art being printed on coffee mugs or t-shirts that are sold as merchandise without you getting any of the sale proceeds or having your “artistic style” be stolen to create work that capitalizes on your brand or recognition.
In order to avoid having your art exploited, here are 4 ways that I have found out keep your artwork safe online:
- Avoid using high resolution images to promote your art
As much as you want people to see every little detail of your art in the photos on your website or catalogue, it is advisable to not use the highest quality photos for this purpose. This is a bit of a challenge to implement especially when you have a website that is for visitors to buy paintings online. If people have access to such high-resolution images of your art, it is easier for them to bypass your art copyright by using these images for producing merchandise or being edited to look like someone else’s art. Therefore, use images that are on the lower end of the resolution scale so that if their copied, nothing can be done with them.
- Watermark your images
Anyone who has taken a Photoshop class in the past 5 years would know the importance of adding your watermark to images of your art. A watermark is a symbol of your name or logo that indicates that the artwork is your intellectual property. This watermark can be placed at the corner of an image or to avoid it being cropped off, you can have a subtle pattern of the watermark all over. Whenever uploading images of your art to your social media profiles or website, make sure you place a watermark to avoid your artistic credit being overlooked.
- No downloads allowed
When working with your website developer or with a web hosting application, ensure that the images being used on your website are not downloadable. Even though there are workarounds to this where copycats can still take the images and violate your art copyright, we however need to do everything that we can to make it difficult for them. There are numerous website hosts that also prevent visitors on your website from right clicking on your images to save them on their devices.
- Put up a personal statement on how much your work means to you
This is something that I have discovered really works. You need to communicate with every visitor on your website and social media profiles about how much the authenticity of your work means to you and the amount of effort that you put in the artistic protection of your art. You can tell these visitors how much it harms your bottom-line and motivation when your work is illegally reproduced. This statement could be shown as a pop up or can be on the side of every image that you post online. By being upfront about your work’s safety can help visitors understand the importance of respecting your intellectual property.
By using all these points, you are implementing safety measures that will strengthen the artistic protection of your art and reduce the possibility of any intellectual violations from taking place. The Internet can definitely be an amazing place for artists to display their work proudly and to make a living or for people to buy affordable paintings online. However, it is up to us to make sure that our hard work stays rightfully ours and we are the only ones to reap the benefits from it.
Shop my artwork collection here.
Check my digital artwork collection here.