To Watermark or To Not Watermark
HALT! Who goes there?
I generally don’t like to watermark my photos and illustrations. When I built the main MOF website, I made a conscious decision to not watermark any of the images. I continued the practice when I established the MOF blog, and the MOF Community Page on Facebook. The only time I’ve really watermarked my images has been when others have asked me to provide examples of my work for their blogs.
Although I completely understand when other artists display their work online with ads, Java scripts or other things to protect their images against theft, plagiarism and other unauthorized use, I highly appreciate it when they take the risk of applying little or no security measures. I do not take that for granted. I too want to be as open and affable.
To me, increasing security measures on art is analogous to the way western governments now help foreign and domestic terrorists achieve their aims at disrupting societies by heightening security measures on public streets, in airports, subway stations, on cross-country trains and at tourist attractions. I’m not against necessary security measures; “necessary” being the operative word, I’m just anti-paranoia.
Many westerners born since 9/11 may never know what it’s like to not live with that level of suspicion and fear. My childhood and adolescence was not without various types of personal, social, political and national safety concerns but in comparing how society was when I was growing up to how it is now, I think that I was privileged.
The time seems to have finally come, nonetheless, for me to capitulate to the cyber-thieves and start to at least watermark every image that I post on my sites from here in. This comes after two blogs that I follow have been raided in recent months.
Some of you may already know that this past June someone ripped off an entire post from Rommel’s blog The Sophomore Slump, and posted it on their blog in their own name. There wasn’t even a link or reblog ping-back to indicate the original source. They didn’t just use Rommel’s pictures they translated what he wrote into another language, word-for-word. He discovered the theft by happenstance.
Around the same time, Cardinal Guzman (I don’t know if that’s his real name or if he has borrowed it from the Louis de Bernières book titled “The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman”) was nailed similarly.
I don’t use other people’s stuff without giving them credit. Even when I interview other artists for one of my blog series’, I ask them to submit examples of their work with watermarks. I prefer to name the people I’m quoting. There are many visual and literary artists who are not famous or hugely successful by any other means but who are still hugely talented. They deserve respect.
I’m quite happy to help other artists spread their names around. No, I never get a pat on the back or anything for it but I do it anyway. While there are many who think that artists’ solidarity is a myth I believe in it, and act to make it real. It’s important. Maybe it’s even the best security measure any artist can have in his or her arsenal against scoundrels.
If you want to use something from me, don’t be afraid that I may be the money-grabbing type. Yes, I do want financial compensation for some things but not everything. You can use my stuff so long as you ask and give me a good idea as to what you want to use it for.