Friday, April 19, 2013

April's Tip of the Month.... helping to protect your copyright and your identity as the artist!

 This is a very sad but necessary job for an artist in today's web wide world. The Internet is a wonderful resource for artists helping them to advertise their artwork and skills as an artist. So many of the public though are  totally unaware of the fact that an image posted on the web by an artist of their painting is not an image that can just be used for any purpose by others.

 Using an artists image for any reason without prior permission from the artist or copying that image for a piece of your own artwork digitally or with pencil or  paint is a breach of the artists copyright.

So how can an artist help to educate the general public, raise awareness of copyright and keep your identity as the artist?

I am still trying ideas and very open to others ideas but...

 Here are some ideas that I am now using that you all are welcome to try too.

1.  An image of your painting on your blog, website,  face book page or art forum page is clearly attributed to you but people share images or down load them from the Internet. Some do ask permission to use your image which is wonderful but when they share and then other people share or save your image and re post in time your identity as the artist can become lost. To stop this happening put your name, the name of the painting and the word copyright very clearly on the actual image.

 Most photo editing programs have the tools to do this. I use photoshop CS3

a. Open the image of your painting in photoshop
b. Click on the T in the tool bar (see arrow on image below down the left hand side) and draw a text box onto your image
c. Type in the name of your painting, your name and the word copyright. This creates a text layer on top of your painting.

d. Now save your image as a jpg in the usual way. Make sure you do not put full resolution images on the web. Keep them between 600-800 pixels on the long side.

2. Don't just put a copyright logo in the bottom corner of your website or blog. Its sad but true that most people don't notice it. Write a sentence explaining at the top of your website face book page, twitter site or blog where it is much more easily seen. This is what I use. Feel free to adapt this for your own use too.

All paintings are the copyright of Ona Kingdon. Please respect this copyright and do not use or reproduce any photograph of a painting or use the idea for a painting or digital manipulation of your own without seeking permission first.

3. Regularly check your images using google image search. Go to the google image page.

a. Click on the camera (see arrow in photo below)

b. This will now appear

c. Upload your image and then press search by image

d. Google will then list web addresses where you image is found. You can also browse through the visually similar images just in case anyone has altered your painting.

These tips wont stop the hardened criminal who is determined to infringe copyright but it will reduce the chances that your image is being used by someone who is less aware. It will also mean that if they do use it your name goes with it unless they choose to remove it and then its not so innocent a use! It will also help to keep you informed of where your images are being used and then you will be able to e mail that person or company and ask them to remove the image. You might think like I did a couple years ago... but no one knows me, they wont use an image of mine. If its there on the web someone will use it for something so please take the precautions to stop, at the very least, your identity as the artist becoming lost.

Let me know if you have any other ideas for helping  artists keep their name with their images and help protect the copyright on their work.



  1. Thank you for posting this. I used to be guilty of using images i found on the web until I was made aware that it was theft. I always ask now.


  2. Thank you too Carolynn for understanding and asking.

  3. Thanks Ona!
    As you know, I found my floral on a pillow in TJMaxx/Home Goods store in Midland, Texas two days ago! I was shocked, scared, and furious someone would violate me and my art, despite using Copyscape on my personal blog with bold disclaimers, it happened anyway.
    These are great tips. Appreciate you!

  4. Hope you can get some compensation re the pillow Kay. I guess no one thing is fail safe. At least by visibly marking your artwork they have to actively remove it and cant just claim they did not know.

  5. Great post Ona. I hope you dont mind I will use your example sentence on my blog. These are great tips. I was unaware that you can do a google image search as well. Thank you!

  6. Yes, please use a version of it that fits your needs. We need to make the whole subject of copyright far more visible to help increase awareness.