Monday, August 11, 2003

Copyright Infringement

You see small cases of this everyday on many websites whether you realize it or not. I ran across a site link that was sent to me by a friend that had many great images posted in the gallery. The images varied from architectural visualization to character models to hollywood film shots. For a freelance artist this was impressive, but something just did not sit right with the images. In my experience someone can be great at one or two things but only a few truly talented individuals posess the ability to do it all.

Now benefit of the doubt says that this person could have done the work even though the name did not sound familiar, after all the world is a large place right? Upon further inspection using a search based on this individuals name we run across another site with some information about the artist including the programs used to create the work. Now my software list is decent sized but not as long as the grocery list of software listed to be in use by this person, but you have to wonder if a. is all this software really used? and b. how does this person afford the software? Now here comes another interesting twist, the individual is 16 years old. Not to slight any young emerging artists as this is a perfect time in their life for learning and using software.

Ok so this 16 year old is a very talented individual who can afford a multitude of software and do several different styles of rendering each of which is impressive. Each of these images in the gallery varies greatly, in fact maybe they vary a bit too much as there is no similarities between any of them. The web is a great tool, since these images vary so much let's perform a little search on a few of the better images to find something similiar. Great big guess on what we found.....

Yes that's right the images were a little too good and it appears that they were that good because we found them on other sites as well, however the copyright listed here did not have the same name listed on our young talented artist's site (which is hosted by another group).

Now this brings us back to the daily abuse of copyright infringement and the degrees of separation that are in place with the web. There is no way to completely stop someone from stealing your image if they can be found in any public forum or website, however there are five things you can do to help reduce the problem:

1. Place a copyright symbol and your name on the image itself and use some type of identifying watermark.

2. If you have a website place your site address on the image, this makes it easy to reach you and also gives you an advertisement if your image is copied.

3. When posting a file, make it as small as possible while maintaining the level of detail you need or desire. This will make it a bit harder for any image pirates to modify and/or use your image.

4. Disable the ability to right click and save an image with JavaScript or VBScript (technique and code available freely on the web).

5. Switch your image with another when the mouse cursor moves over the image using a mouse over event with JavaScript or VBScript (again more information is available on the web about this method).

Keep in mind that this will not stop a sophisticated web user from stealing your work but it will slow them down and limit what can be done with your image.

Happy rendering...

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