Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Note About Watermarks

FYI: the watermarks (my signature + copyright symbol overlaying the image) and website URL are only placed on images displayed on the web.
These are devices to help prevent the unauthorized use of my artwork.
It is impossible to keep people from "stealing" images off the web - adding these (somewhat intrusive, I realize) elements is an effort to at least make sure I am identified as the artist and let people know where to go to find more if they like the art.
It can kind of function as a form of advertising, even if people are spreading the imagery around without permission.
In this day of wildfire internet memes, one can only hope that one’s artwork causes a web sensation and ends up proliferating through MySpace like a viral epidemic!
As long as my name and URL are on there, such “promotion” could possibly lead to greater recognition and hopefully, sales!

Of course, there are some people who think nothing of removing any identifying info from art they come across. It is true that the watermarks often obscure part of the image and this can be annoying. Artists have been forced to place the watermarks over integral parts of their images because if they don’t, the info can be easily cropped off, and unfortunately, often is.
There are even those who go to great lengths to excise the watermarks from art they find, removing signatures, copyright notices and URLs from the work (even if it requires extensive Photoshopping to remove overlapping elements) before posting them on their own sites/profiles/pages.
I consider this extraordinarily disrespectful (not to mention illegal).
If you like the work enough to post it on your MySpace page (or whatever), why would you do the artist such a petty disservice?

Whenever I share someone else’s artwork, I make every effort to discover who the artist is and include that information, as well as any relevant links to more of their work.
Not only should we all give credit where it’s rightfully due, we should try to encourage folks to find out more, if their interest is aroused.
And if you want to see the artwork in its full glory, unblemished by such unsightly intrusions, you should pay for it. Artists deserve compensation for their work, just like in any other profession.
Support the artists you dig! Spread the word! We can all use all the help we can get!

*(Steps down off soapbox and clears throat)*

The watermarks and URLs do not appear on my fine art prints, cards or apparel (though there is a tiny, unobtrusive copyright notice at the bottom of the apparel designs).

If you want to share my artwork with others, by all means point them to my website and/or post an image with my watermark and URL.

I even offer free avatar images for use in profiles and sigs, etc.:
These images do not include any identifying info, but I ask that you give me credit and/or put a link to somewhere in your sig or profile, if possible.

On behalf of all my fellow artists, thanks for listening!

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