Watermarking option for images
Allow users to have their submitted photos watermarked as they're uploaded to the site.
Bob Smith commented
I think something may be getting lost in translation here. I'm not questioning the value of these photos, nor that they should be protected from theft in some way. I wholeheartedly agree that they should be protected and remain sole property of the submitter. But I don't believe that this is a job SummitPost should be responsible for.
I believe the responsibility for protecting someone's assets lies in the person to whom they belong. The photos are not property of SP, so why is it our responsibility to implement something to protect them?
There are quite a few easy ways to protect photos from being stolen that can be done by the person submitting them to SP. These include:
1) Resize to photo to a size that's still pleasant to view online, but not worth much in other applications.
2) Watermark the photos before submitting them so that they at least have some (minimal) protection.
3) Don't upload photos that you don't want stolen (as you are doing now).
I think Visentin's idea is excellent and as he says; this will discourage a vast majority of the thieves.
One of the most important parameters for SP is good images, so I think this should have a high priority. At least if you want to encourage high quality material to be posted.
I understand that some may not be interested in this issue at all, and have no reason to be either. If you shoot photos of mountains which are easily accessed and where thousands of people go every year the material isn't worth protecting. And no one is interested in stealing it anyway.
But for those who sit on unique photos from areas where no one has been before or photos that you've risked your life to shoot the story is very different.
I simply upload all my pics at a 1028xwhatever resolution. Makes for faster uploads too.
Excuse me to insist again and so much with my idea, but as you say the watermark doesn't solve anything (crop the bottom, or some Photoshop...)
Viewing pictures in original size on SP is far too simple, it's an invitation for stealing pictures, and certainly a divine resource of easy - through illegal - source of free material for bad intentioned people (like little scrupulous travel agencies and so on, like Corax put in examples).
Try to visualize a Picasa picture in large size. There is some kind of flash-player zoom function, you can't do "Save As", and unless the guy is really stubborn like keen in doing several screen captures and stitch them back together, this will discourage 99% of people to save pictures in original sizes. And the commercial value of a VGA screen-sized image (1Mpx) is much less significant on the digital photo market....
I understand your frustration Corax! And it isn't right that they're stealing your photos and claiming copyright to them. That shouldn't be happening. Unfortunately anything put on the web is easily stolen. It is possible to sue them for copyright infringement, but unfortunately proving the origin of the photo would be extremely difficult, I'd guess.
From our perspective, I'm not sure why SP would spend time to implement a method for watermarking photos when this can be quickly and easily done (for those who want to minimally protect their photos) by the submitter using any photo editing software.
I can't imagine that there are many SPers who would actually use such a feature. And for those few who would, it seems to me that they'd take the time to do their own watermarking before uploading the photo to the site.
And even if we were to watermark the photos for those few who would use it, there is still no guarantee that the photos will not be stolen.
A Picasa display system for large size would fix this issue rather than watermaking
Yes, as Visentin says; many members have left SP because of this issue. I have completely stopped posting due to this issue.
Matt; yes I do find my photos recycled all over the web. I don't care if someone "borrows" my photos because they want a nice looking mountain on their webpage, but I do care when high profile climbers in for example the 8000m peak circus broadcast their super hero expeditions to Himalaya with my photos. Dodo Kopold, Edurne Pasaban etc. should be able to shoot their own photos as they basically live in the Himalaya.
Even worse is when national climbing organizations and huge commercial web sites use my photos for commercial purposes. Some of the photos have even been copyrighted by them.
Kumar Bahadur Karki, the asshole (http://culturaltreks.com/aboutus.html) in charge of Cultural Treks and Expeditions have stolen basically all my good photos of Shishapangma and put the company's copyright on them.
And if you think this is only a hillbilly-expedition-company-from-the-third-world phenomena have a look at what the German national climbing organization (Deutscher Alpenverein) did to my photo. They claim they have the copyright.
I could give you many more examples, but I'm sure you see the point.
I guess this is the only good alternative soon:
I think this is a nice to have... Not a need to have. Not sure there is high demand for this.
What I don't understand is why people who are concerned about their photos getting downloaded don't just make a watermark on the photo themselves?
I think many of our pictures are used across the web without we know it.... The ones we accidentally find from time to time are 1% of them...
There have been issues in the past, if I remember, of important SP contributors (not by the amount of points) but quality of the content, like book authors and etc, who left SP because of the too vague policy regarding intellectual property.
If you have a close look, all SPrs who live from their mountain activity do not post any picture in large size due to this.
That was my though as well...is this really an issue? Are people finding their photos recycled all over the web?
I think perhaps just watermark the original photo. Definitely not the small and medium. Plus is this really an issue now?
Besides the watermark and in order to improve even more efficiently the safety of intellectual property on SP, images in original size should be displayed like on Picasa zoom system, making the contextual "save picture as" impossible.