There are many techniques that have been recommended for protecting images online. Some employ simple tricks while others require image protect software. Some methods merely offer a mild deterrent while others can effectively prevent all copy.
Many professional photographers use the Digimarc plugin in Photoshop to add an extra tag to their images with a Copyright notice and ownership details. However the tag is not evident when viewing the image, and is easily removed by saving and then exporting the image to a different format. Taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save a new image without the same file properties.
Spliced or segmented images make saving of your image most difficult because a visitor usually clicks to save only to later find that they only have part of the image. Image splicing is tedious and difficult to re-assemble because they will need a DIV or TableSet to hold them in place. However taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save the whole image anyway.
Hot linking occurs when others display your image on their website by simply using your link resource. Hot linking can be prevented by the checking the origin of the page that is displaying the image, which can be done by using a script to display the image instead of directly linking to its resource on your website. For more info on "image streaming" search for the PHP ImageJpeg function or FileSystemObject examples for Windows servers. Unfortunately taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save the image on display.
Overlaying a transparent image such as GIF or PNG over an image can prevent users from right clicking saving, because all they get is the transparent overlay. A transparent image can be positioned over the image and held in place by using CSS. Unfortunately taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save the image as seen.
By disabling the right click mouse menu you can remove options for select, copy and paste commonly used by visitors to collect images. However while it has been used in many CMS plugins for "content protection", no-right-click does no more than remove those options from mouse click while those options are still available in the web browser toolbar or by using hotkeys. Taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save the image as seen.
Web page images are usually displayed by using the <image src> attribute. However by creating a DIV or TableSet in HTML and setting the image as the background for that item, visitors cannot select it to save or view its properties. Unfortunately taking a screenshot using PrintScreen will save the image as seen.
Watermarking can be good deterrent for image piracy because a Copyright statement can be embedded into the image that cannot be removed. Watermarks can be added by image editors or you can use a CMS plugin like those for WordPress that can apply a watermark dynamically as the image loads. While watermarks are a deterrent to copying, they can mar the presentation and atmosphere of what is displayed
Images can be saved by taking a screenshot using the PrintScreen keyboard button or by using any one of the many screen capture applications. PrintScreen and screen recording has been prevented for 20 years by using the CopySafe image protect software. Unfortunately today's modern web browsers are no longer what they used to be and lack support for real browser plugins that can action copy protection at system level. However there is still one web browser, known as the ArtisBrowser, that still supports NPAPI plugins to provide copy protection as and when needed.
Most website copy protection solutions have been rendered useless by modern web browsers, except for the ArtisBrowser ,which was purposely designed for copy protected websites. Specially designed to decrypt web pages delivered by the ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS), it not only provides the only means of displaying protected web pages, but while doing so can prevent save and copy by all manner of methods.
Other specialized copy protect solutions catering for the different media types such as images, PDF and video are also supported by the ArtisBrowser. For example PDF documents are often used for online lessons and technical data and to protect their content both for desktop reading and web pages reading, site owners can use the CopySafe PDF Protection software.
While ASPS does provide the most secure copy protection for all web page media, it does require a dedicated or at least a virtual web server. Whereas the CopySafe PDF protection software can copy protect data and images for distribution by email, download and on disk for desktop reading, as well as securely display protected PDF on web pages hosted on any type of website or server.
Author: William Kent
Date: 1st July 2020
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