Secure Copy Protection Browser

Techniques for the Copy Protection of Images

The methods and measures for protecting images on the web have been neither clear nor easy to understand. In fact, they were often confusing and if anything, misleading. Some measures that have been touted as offering protection are actually not protective at all. Still, even if others may offer may offer a poor quality image for people to copy, they also fall short of any real protection.

Some protective techniques are discussed below.

Using over compressed images

By 'over compressing' images to prevent either theft or copy, the image is degraded to the point that all texture and effect are lost, even when viewed on a high-resolution monitor. Such action may work in headlines or ad captions, but treating works of art in such a manner is ridiculous. This method is not recommended for portfolios or any artwork.

Using a digital watermark

A watermark is not actually a mark at all but rather, an invisible tag added to an image file. The mark is not evident when viewed on a computer screen or when it is printed. The process was developed for photographers to attach their names and image details for cataloguing and circulation amongst the advertising agencies. Unfortunately, the tag may be removed in one of the many graphic applications that support the plug-ins used and it offers no protection for creators nor is it an effective deterrent to copy thieves at all!

Using a message insert or branding

Sometimes also referred to as "watermarking", a message or logo is burnt into the image file and cannot be removed. It is permanently visible on and off the screen and offers the viewer a disfigured image that is useless for reproduction. Unfortunately, the result is unsightly and not conducive for good presentation, especially for artworks and paintings, which need to convey their atmosphere.

Using a fragmented image

By breaking up an image into segments and displaying those parts on a table set, an artist might think their work is safe. Unfortunately, however, most images can be reassembled in the most basic of photo editors. If an unauthorized user is determined to either copy or illegally download a fragmented image, they could technically save the different parts of the image and reassemble them on their own computer, all without the permission of the original content creator. Unless the image is of high resolution, the visitor can easily perform a screen capture and get the whole image at screen resolution.

Using a transparent layer

Use of a clear gif in a layer over the top of an image was first developed by ArtistScope years ago. Back then, most users were still using browsers that did not support layers and the method, although cited by many of the copy cats in this industry, is easily circumvented.

JavaScript and "no right click"

No right click scripts may be a deterrent to newbies on the Internet, but they are merely just that—tools for amateurs. If anyone really wants your image (even an amateur), they will get it with little difficulty. In fact, you can download the original one, which works in many browsers.

JavaScript and HTML encryption

Another superficial protection system that is easily decoded is JavaScript and HTML encryption. The encryption sources are freely available on the web along with the tools for their decryption. Content cannot be protected using JavaScript alone. Java and JavaScript on their own do NOT have the permissions at system level to be effective, which is why our more secure programs use a plug-in.

Using CGI image and page delivery

By utilizing such systems, images can be protected from direct linking and may also offer some bandwidth protection. Unfortunately, the images are not safe once the page has been downloaded to the visitor's browser, since the visitor can easily manipulate the image file at will. The CGI method is effective where access to the start page can be restricted. Please see Link Protect for more information

Using applets to protect images

There have been many simple image applets that are offered as "image protection". Without using encryption and domain lock, the protection is only superficial. ArtistScope's strategy offers the most effective protection available where the images are encrypted and domain locked, making them un-viewable away from the owner’s website. It offers protection against mouse click saving, the use of grab type software, and bandwidth theft through unauthorized and direct linking. It is safe from all avenues of copying, except screen capture. See Secure Image for more information.

Preventing screen capture and PrintScreen

Screen capture cannot be prevented with JavaScript or Java alone as these languages do not have the necessary permissions to communicate at system level, which is where the "capture" is performed. To prevent screen capture, system level commands need to be wrapped into a plugin, which when installed to the visitor's browser with their consent, is able to trap the messages used for the capture.

CopySafe Web incorporates plugin interaction with Java encryption and Domain Lock to provide a completely portable solution that will run from any web page and from any type of web server. CopySafe, having evolved from years of user feedback, offers the most portable and easy to use Copy Protection system for the web. CopySafe can be customized for incorporation into any online project and will batch process thousands of images at a time.

CopySafe Web and the ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS) are the only solutions available for effective copy protection on websites. ASPS requires a dedicated or virtual server for the permission to install at system level, but CopySafe Web can be used on any web site hosted anywhere.