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I Shutter at the Thought: Stop Digital Photo Thieves in Their Tracks

I Shutter at the Thought: Stop Digital Photo Thieves in Their Tracks

Visuals speak to your customers before they even have a chance to read your marketing messages. In fact, photos on Facebook receive 53% more likes and 104% more comments than the average posts. Photos are too powerful not to take advantage of, but they leave you vulnerable to intellectual property theft. So how do you ensure that the photos you upload for your business on social media are safe?

Know the Rules

Before you upload any photos to a social network make sure that you know their policy when it comes to user and company images. Last year Instagram caused quite a commotion when they changed the language in their terms of service, suggesting that they would have the right to sell users’ photos, without their permission. Instagram quickly removed the misleading information, but it did spark a conversation amongst both companies and social media users regarding photography on these sites. Who claims ownership and how can these rights be protected?

In March of 2013, the International Press Telecommunications Counsel released a survey revealing that Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr have all been known to remove metadata on photos, including data indicating ownership. Other social sites like Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+ retained ownership and additional metadata.

Knowing which sites will protect your businesses photo ownership and which will not gives you clear expectations and lets you know when you will need to take extra precautions.

Protect Yourself

Businesses have several options when it comes to defending their online photos. See our top tips listed below.

  • Add Metadata to Your Photos:

    In some cases, photo-editing programs like Adobe Photoshop will let users add metadata to their pictures. This includes text detailing the copyright and ownership information for the photo that will travel with the file as it is downloaded and uploaded elsewhere. Note that this data can be stripped by some websites, such as the social networking sites mentioned above, so you’ll need to take extra precaution on these platforms.

  • Add a Copyright Notice on the Images:

    Using Photoshop, or any other photo editing application, add your copyright information in the lower right-hand corner of your images. If you’d like to avoid covering the details of your photos with text you may post the copyright information along with the photo, for instance in the photo description. This lowers your protection but maximizes the impact of your pictures.

  • Add a Watermark:

    If you’ve tried both of the options above and they have not offered you your preferred level of protection, consider overlaying a watermark on your pictures. Inexpensive apps such as Marksta for iOS users and Add Watermark for those who prefer Androids, allow users to quickly apply names or logos over photos. While this method does detract the most from your images, it makes them the least attractive to users or other companies looking to steal your photos for their own purposes.

Though none of these measures will prevent the most determined photo thieves from swiping your images, they will make it much easier for you to defend your ownership rights and insist on the removal of these pictures on others’ sites and social media profiles.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office