Protecting Your Photos on Social Media

Photo by Victor Freitas on

Many of us don’t think twice about sharing our photos of our holiday memories, food, loved ones and those that relate to our businesses in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc..

So, who owns our photos once they’re in the world wide web? What are our rights and how do we prevent image piracy?

Copyright …In answer to the first question, you do! As soon as you take a photo you own it and you have rights as the owner. Some things you need to know:

  • Copyright protection doesn’t cost you anything and is automatic.
  • As soon as you take the photo you own it. Exceptions: a) when someone else uses your camera, it depends on why they took the photo, b) if you’re under contract and the images you take are for a business or a Government agency.
  • Copyright for photos last for 70 years past the life of the photo’s owner.
  • If someone has used your image without your permission you can file a copyright infringement notice.

The Law Tog and the Australian Copyright Council websites have up-to-date information about copyright laws for photographers. ACC has a PDF you can download.

What you can do to stop photo theft

  • Only upload photos with a low resolution. It’s harder to use the image for printing etc.
  • Watermark your photos. It’s as simple as including text in a corner of your image either using your phone’s photo edit or Photoshop Elements (free).
  • There are also plugins available that disable “right click” so that your images cannot be saved elsewhere.

Ultimately, the best way to prevent image piracy is to not put the images on the internet.

That said, the how to’s are amazingly simple and I wonder why I haven’t looked at this before.

Comments are welcome.

Bibliography: Australian Copyright Considerations for Photographers – The Law Tog , Photographers and Copyright PDF – Australian Copyright Council , Adobe Products!3085!3!248218103743!b!!g!!adobe%20photoshop%20element , WordPress

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