September 3, 2009

Blog Theft

Recently I read a blog post on Joys of Home of yet another case of blog theft. It’s floating around out there like crazy. While these stories don’t always surprise me, her situation actually did. The person was posting her entire blog, post-for-post as their own. Usually you hear of tutorials being copied and claimed as someone else’s hard work. Or another is family photos being downloaded and edited or used for random things. In a recent news story a woman received an email notifying her that her little child’s picture was being used in an adoption scam. The person was sending the photo of her son to people, which linked to her family blog. And people wonder why my family blog is private?!

While theft from a public blog will remain a threat for many years to come, there are some things that you can do to protect your blog. I have not implemented perfect protection for my own personal blog, but have started the process slowly. I found one article that gives a few good tips on how to create a Creative Commons license and protect your blog through Copyright. These things, however do not stop everyone, so if you experience blog theft, or wonder what to do in that situation, the rest of the article suggests some of the actions you can take.

One of my suggestions, aside from this article is to watermark your own photos. (The "mkr designs…" on my photos is a watermark.) After commenting on Joy’s blog, she emailed me to ask how to make a cute watermark for her photos. Since then, I have been looking for a free, simple method. If you own photo editing software such as Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, or some other in-depth program you’re already set to go, if not there are a few options.

Your choice will, of course depend on the style of watermark that you want.

1. Text Only

Picasa - no customization on font or location. Multiple photos at once. Click here for instructions.

Picnik - font and location customizable. One photo at a time from what I've been able to read. Click here for instructions.

Alamoon Watermark (Free software) - font and location customizable. Multiple photos. Also resizes the photos for you. Click here to download. There is an upgrade for $30 but I'll give you another suggestion in a minute.

These are all relatively easy to use. Picnik is online, Picasa and Alamoon are downloaded to your machine.

2. Customized Text or A Fancy Image

If you're looking for a custom design like your business logo, or even text arranged like my watermark, you're going to need a better program. My watermark is an image that I place on the photo in Photoshop. I designed it using Photoshop. Even if you decide that designing your own Watermark is too much work and have someone do it for you - I still think it's not worth your money to buy a Watermark Program.

Let me explain: If you purchase a Watermark Program you will most likely pay about $30 to get what you want. I would recommend purchasing a copy of Photoshop Elements instead. You can buy it here for $40. $10 more and you have a good photo editing program as well, something that is way more valuable! Isn't that brilliant?

Let me explain why this company has two different prices for the same program. OEM is the simplified software package that a company gets in bulk, usually for the purpose of selling packaged with a computer, notebook, or a software bundle. It's the same program just doesn't come in the standard "Full Retail" box with all the manuals, etc. This one will come with CD's and installation instructions only. I hope that explains it.

I recommend Photoshop Elements because there are so many online tutorials on how to use it and free downloads that you can use in it. Here's how to make a watermark in PS Elements! I actually did something similar, just used the text tool to create 3 separate text pieces and arranged them together as you see on my pictures now. I'll try to make a tutorial for that soon. Here's another tutorial on how to then use the watermark on multiple photos.

I hope this answers some of your questions and helps you decide how you want to protect your photos. Let me know if you have more questions in your comments and I'll try to answer them the best I can.


Joy said...

Wow I'm so impressed with your research! Thank you!
And thanks for the link too.