While there are no sure fire ways to keep
your images from being stolen right off your web page, there
are a few techniques that will discourage many would be
"thieves". Let's explore some of these remedies.
In order to understand
what we're up against, we first must understand just how
images can be taken from a web page. There are 5 different
ways to grab an image from a web site.
- "Save Image As" with the right click mouse
- Saving the page in IE5 grabs all images on the page
- Directly linking to where the image is stored on the
- Open the image from browser cache located in the Temporary
- Screen capture programs and PrintScreen.
Watermark | Roll-over
| Table | Caching
| Encryption | A
your copyright is one way to protect your image. This can
be done digitally with programs like
Digimarc or by placing a visible copyright on the
image itself. Digimarc embeds information in your image
which will in turn link to your identity. For a fee, these
images can then be tracked across the Web. Digital watermarks
are easy to create and read. One advantage/disadvantage
is there is no visible type to interfere with your image
plug-ins are available for several different graphics
programs including PhotoShop and Paint Shop Pro.
In addition to including a written copyright
notice at the bottom of each web page
(see below), I like to place my name along with the copyright
symbol on all of my photos. Some people opt to emboss the
© or their logo within their image. For more
details on how to create an embossed copyright symbol on
your image, please refer to my article.
A relatively easy technique that can be used to display
your copyright notice is a rollover image. Once set up,
when the mouse is moved over the image, a second image appears
("rolls over" the first) with a copyright notice.
Move your mouse over the above image to view an example
of the rollover technique.
Since the right click mouse action is the
most common way to grab an image, "deactivating"
available that serve to disable the right click action.
is not Java compatible OR if the user has the turned off
the enable Java option. Not all of these will work on the
Mac platform either. If you'd like to see how this works,
visit my site and see
it in action. I've created an Adobe Acrobat file (PDF)
that contains my favorite right
as instructions on how to use it on your web page.
Top of Page
The Table method is similar to using layers. Set up
a table the same size as the photograph you want to
protect. Insert the photo as the table's background
image. Next, create a new table within the first table.
The second table should be the same size as the first
table. Within this second table you will insert a
To create a null image, open a new, transparent document
in your image editor and set the dimensions to the
same as those of the photo you are hiding. Save this
blank image as a transparent GIF file. Place the null/empty
image within the second table. Essentially, you've
copied over the first image with a "see-through"
image. Even though it appears that you can right click
and grab the image, all you'll be grabbing is an empty
This is a pretty neat trick. However, the image itself
still resides in the browsers cache and you can still
swipe the image by locating the file name in the source
Image Directory Protection
Here's one important step that many people often overlook.
Most web designers place photographs and graphics in a separate
"images" directory. Browsers look for an index page within
each sub-directory If there is not one there, a complete
directory listing of all of your image files will come up.
This means that anyone can get a complete list of all your
images and grab anything they want!!! The best way to stop
this is to place an index page in the same directory where
you have placed your images. Visit Lucid Images images
directory to see how I've handled this.
You can prevent browsers from caching the images on your
web pages. Insert the following code between the <HEAD>
and </HEAD> tags of your web page. <META http-equiv="Pragma"
Another very effective alternative is the Section method.
Start off by dividing your image into four pieces. Save
each of these as a separate JPEG file. Next, create a table
with two rows, zero border. Place the two images that make
up the top half of your image in the top row and the other
two images in the bottom row. While this does help discourage
folks from swiping the image, it's a very time consuming
project. It's easy to do, but who has the time to divide
all of their images into four separate images?
There are some really nice Java
slide show scripts available. In many situations, this
is a great choice for displaying your images. My two favorites
are available at Anfy. Both Book
and CrossFade are very nice applets. You can
also assign links to each image.
A few software companies have introduces programs that "encrypt"
your image. (Actually, it's the file name that is encrypted.)
Protect by Gamacles Software will encrypt the source
code in addition to your image. Internet Expressions has
a couple of very nice programs in SafeImage
& SafeImage Server. These programs allow you to
create images that can only be viewed from a licensed viewer
and domain. While this is an excellent program, it is rather
confusing to implement. I've used Image Protect and SafeImage.
However, I find Artistscope's
Secure Image Pro to be the easiest to use and one of
the most effective in preventing someone from stealing your
photographs. Artistscope also offers a registered version
of Secure Image absolutely FREE!!!
In addition to Secure Image Pro, Artistscope
has a new product entitled Copy
Safe. This product protects your valuable images against
the 5 ways to copy images. I've tried
the Copy Safe demo and it looks very promising. However,
it comes with a price. At nearly US$1,000.00, Copy Safe
is more suitable for galleries, professionals and serious
I would also like to mention another product
that will soon to be available to the general public entitled
Clever Content Creator by Alchemedia. This is a web-based
service located at www.clevercontent.com
for companies or individuals with web sites located on shared
servers, ISPs or community sites. Images protected with
Clever Content Creator are routed through clevercontent.com's
encryption filters en route to the surfer's browser. They
will also offer Clever Content Galleries for companies or
individuals without a web site, "providing a fee-based
venue for storing and protecting up to 50 images."
What's my Solution?
I use thumbnails on my web site. These thumbnails are "protected"
visitors click on the thumbnail image. The larger image
is what I have protected through Secure Image Pro.
During the process of encrypting the image, an HTML file
with the code and photo are created. All that's left for
me to do is link the thumbnail image to the newly created
web page. To see Secure Image Pro in action, visit the Bird
Gallery section of my web site. I plan to implement
Copy Safe in the Mammals
Places Galleries on Lucid Images Wildlife Photography.
It's a shame that we have to go to such measures to protect
our images, but the fact remains many people mistakenly
think our work is free for the taking simply because it
appears on Internet. I would like to think many of these
thefts are just out of ignorance. Please, unless it is clearly
stated that the image, graphic, article or music is free,
ask for the owner's permission to use them.
All Images are protected
under US and International copyright laws and belong to
Lucid Images Wildlife Photography. Please respect artists'
copyrights by only viewing the content of this page on your
computer in its live published form. Altering, printing,
copying, distributing or any other unauthorized use of the
images or content on this site requires written authorization.
We would gladly assist you in any image needs from this
site, just drop us an
Top of Page