How to protect your images on the web. Is there a way to stop people right clicking and saving my images in the gallery?

Preventing right-click mouse actions for save and copy is extremely easy, as is evident by the plethora of image protect software that is now available based on simple "no-right-click" JavaScript. And while it may work in most web browsers, it does not prevent any other methods of download, save or scraping of images.

Image protect softwareWhy are there so many CMS plugins for copy protection based on no-right-click? Probably because plugins for CMS like WordPress are easy to plagiarize and repackage to promote other services like web design and web hosting services. Site owners find these plugins listed on WordPress and naively believe that they are solution to prevent image copy. When looking for further information or support they eventually arrive at the developer's home page where their core services are advertised.

With right-click disabled in the mouse content menu, there are still many other options for downloading and saving an image or even the page will all images and other media included. Amateur web designers will not have heard about "image scraping" where software is used to spider your web site for image and download them all automatically. Any images of value usually end up posted on web sites as search engine fodder or used to promote their own products or services. While everyone knows what Copyright means, very few have any respect for it and it will only be larger organizations that may have a reputation to preserve that will not blatantly use any image that will save time, money and enhance their own project.

So how can one protect images on the web? Well encryption is a good place to start because encrypted images will not be readable or identifiable by software looking for normal images. Not only the file extension will be changed, but the header information inside the file may not be accessible except from the viewer that displays those encrypted images.

Watermarking is a most efficient deterrent as no-one wants to copy an image that has a Copyright statement burned into it. But watermarking can provide an ugly view of what you are presenting. If the watermark is towards the bottom it can easily be cropped or edited out, and if in the middle of the picture then presentation is ruined.

The best image protect software is the CopySafe Web Protection software because it prevents copy from all methods used to scrape, download and copy images. CopySafe Web images are encrypted with domain lock to prevent them from being displayed on other web sites, making then safe even from your webmaster and staff. The images cannot be viewed outside of its web viewer and while on display cannot be copied using PrintScreen or screen capture software.

Another most secure solution is the ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS) which copy protects all media that can be displayed on a web page. Media such as images and video do not need to be encrypted because ASPS creates a secure tunnel between website and the web browser that cannot be decoded by any other software. Unlike with most web browsers, nothing can be extracted from browser cache or memory.

To copy protect images and provide a portable version for desktop reading as well as online viewing, one can publish images in PDF format and use PDF protect software. The most secure and most sophisticated PDF security is provided by the CopySafe PDF Protection software. To copy protect PDF converter software encrypts the PDF so that it can only be viewed by its proprietary reader which is available as a desktop reader with DRM options to prevent sharing and unauthorized access/redistribution. When encrypted for display on web pages it provides copy protection from all avenues and is domain locked so that the files cannot be used away from your website.

Note that if you want your images searchable by search engines like a lot of artists do for recognition, forget about copy protection. You cannot copy protect an image and leave it accessible for all and sundry at the same time. Best thing to do in such cases is display a normal image of low quality or watermarked, with a link to click to view a higher quality but protected image.

Author: William Kent
Date: 3rd JUne 2020

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