5 Basic Things Artists Can Do To Prevent Art Theft Online
October 7, 2021
Hi everyone! Recently, I began to think about how someone can prevent art theft of their work. There are many worries that come with posting art online. Artist that use social media to promote their work are susceptible to art theft. Even though artists are worried about this, there are easy steps artist can take in order to prevent, or deter, art thieves from targeting them.
Over the years, I learned simple (and kind of basic common sense) ways of showing ownership over my art and photographs. Even though there are more complicated ways to prevent art theft, here are five basic ways I try to prevent people from stealing my art on social media. It’s not full proof, but it does slow down the amount of art is stolen and how the art can be distributed without my consent.
Watermark Art Before Publishing
The most common and basic thing an artist can do to prevent art theft is watermark their art. Creating a watermark isn’t that difficult and can include the artist’s name, their username on social media sites, website URL address, and any sort of indication to show the work is copyrighted. There are tutorials about how to make them on YouTube and on blogs, so an explanation about how to create a watermark and applying it to the art for whatever art software you use is easy to obtain.
Place the Watermark Somewhere Obvious or Distracting
Placement of the watermark is very important. Usually, the best place to put the watermark is best placed somewhere obvious or distracts someone from using the uploaded version of the art. Where to put the watermark depends on the style of the watermark and how obvious you would like it to be. By doing this, it ruins the art thief’s ability to create prints of the art or re post the art claiming to be their own. After all, if it really is their art, then why is the version prints are made out of has a watermark or posted onto a site that does not use the same user name?
Upload a Smaller File
If have a blog, then upload a smaller file of the art. Not only will this save space on the server, but will prevent someone from creating prints using the file. It is best to save the smaller file as a JPG to avoid anyone enlarging the file for sale without your permission. On other social media sites, such as Instagram, a larger file can be used, but make sure to highlight the details of the art by uploading multiple zoomed in, cropped images of the artwork along with an image of the full piece.
Never Upload a Vector File
This may seem obvious if you know the difference between vector files and JPG files, but to make sure the art is not stolen, never upload a vector file of the art. Many social media sites don’t allow a vector file to be uploaded to social media, but if there is a site that does, then don’t. A vector file can be scaled up and down, thus allowing art thieves to save the vector file and enlarge it to a size large enough to sell prints of the art. JPG files get blurry whenever they are scaled too large or too small. So, post a JPG file instead.
Upload the Same Quality File Across Social Media
If you are uploading a file on multiple social media sites as well as blogs, use a the same or similar quality file in all the posts. It can be hard to use the same exact file across multiple places due to size restrictions certain social media sites have. Try to make sure the file is clear enough to be seen in a similar way across all the sites. Also include watermarks in all the files as well, adjusting the watermark placement for visibility.