Remember Your Watermarks!
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By FleetingEmber   |   Watch
144 117 3K (1 Today)
Published: June 16, 2011
In the past, my work has been uploaded to DeviantArt by other deviants without my permission, but i was never really bothered too much, as i know how great and efficient the DA staff are at taking the work down.


However, i warn all of you now, to put watermarks on your images before it is too late. It may be simple to be dealt with on this site, but when it's used elsewhere, it may not be so simple.


Recently mine and quite a few other artist's work was found on Ebay by :iconsquirrelemperor:. They were being sold as laptop covers, without any of our consent. I read up on Ebay's rules, and to report such a thing you have to print our a form, fill it all it, and fax it to them, and it can take weeks for anything to get done. All the while, a profit is being made on your artwork.

Luckily, after many messages from various people to the seller, (all of which i'm very, very grateful for) our problem was solved as the item listing was removed. However, just don't let it get to that stage. Don't make my mistake. Put watermarks on your artwork. Do it now rather than later.

If you don't want to make your own watermark, or don't have the time, don't worry. DA has a handy little watermark feature that you can use.

And if some people complain about the watermark, then don't be put off. You're protecting your artwork. And that's far more important.

So people, remember your watermarks! Put them on. Right now! =P
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Comments (105)
Niffler13's avatar
Niffler13|Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know if this comforts you, or does just the opposite but this only happens to the good artists. *shot*
Reply  ·  
arjuu-na's avatar
arjuu-na|Student General Artist
Unfortunate truth, bro.
Reply  ·  
Niffler13's avatar
Niffler13|Hobbyist General Artist
Yep. ._.
Reply  ·  
spartan316's avatar
spartan316|Student Traditional Artist
I have to concur in full
Reply  ·  
Felixnotes's avatar
Felixnotes|Hobbyist General Artist
If someone can make money off my "art" then so be it. I honestly don't care. But it would be nice if people buying them knows who actually made it. Maybe I would care if I did this for a living but I am just having fun for now and learning.
Reply  ·  
GisaPizzatto's avatar
GisaPizzatto|Professional Traditional Artist
Featured: [link] ;)
Reply  ·  
tursiart's avatar
tursiart|Professional Traditional Artist
The problem with DA's watermark is that it's huge and obnoxious, and actually gets in the way of the vast majority of honest folks who just want to view your deviation. It's so hugely annoying to me that I have a policy of not faving or really looking at anything with that giant ugly stupid watermark on it.

Now, having a less obtrusive watermark that you add yourself, in photoshop or some other program... I can see the merit in that. I will sometimes incorporate such a watermark in my own work, in fact. The problem with something like that, however, is it gets in the way of deviant art prints.

I have found personally that the best way to protect my artwork from being stolen, while avoiding the ugly watermark issue... is to just deactivate the download button on each deviation page, and make sure the largest view is no greater than 800 pixils on the longest side.... lower resolution essentially.... that way if anyone tries to steal and sell prints, it just turns out pixilated and ugly for them.

I guess if someone really wanted they could still steal my work and try to pass it off as their on on a website or something. Truthfully I've only encountered that issue once, a long time ago. Someone posted some of my art on a forum (not DA) saying it was their own. Luckily, one of the other posters recognized it as mine and the OP was immediately discredited as a lame art thief.
Reply  ·  
xlntwtch's avatar
I like artwork with proved provenance. I thought most people who bought it wanted provenance to show the artist and even the date. A watermark is a different thing I guess, but signatures, dates, all that can be put on artwork that's selling to anyone who knows what they're doing should be done. Isn't it?
I saw the comment about literature. Made me think.
I don't do artwork at all, but I do buy a fair amount, and have never seen a watermark on any of it. I do see some with provenance, right down to what number of print it is. I like that!
Now: Should all literature hold a copyright? Hmm. Maybe I should ask: Should all good literature (who can judge that?) hold a copyright? I was under the impression dA supplies a copyright on it.
True or not? Thank you to anyone who read this block of words! :o
Reply  ·  
thoughtwright's avatar
thoughtwright|Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly, so what if people are profiting off "Your" artwork? Hey, cool, my art is on laptops now, and someone else is making money while doing it. Now how awesome would that be?
Reply  ·  
linkieoftermina's avatar
linkieoftermina|Hobbyist General Artist
*salutes* Yes ma'am. XD
Reply  ·  
Philluppus's avatar
Philluppus| General Artist
why don't you all use digital finger printing?
Reply  ·  
TheCreativeJenn's avatar
TheCreativeJenn|Professional Digital Artist
Instead of relying heavily on one option like watermarking to protect yourselves, you could also browse the website known as Art Scams [dot] com to better your defenses.
Reply  ·  
aliceferox's avatar
aliceferox|Professional Photographer
This, honestly, this times 1,000.
Reply  ·  
TheCreativeJenn's avatar
TheCreativeJenn|Professional Digital Artist
:) :heart:
Reply  ·  
TheCreativeJenn's avatar
TheCreativeJenn|Professional Digital Artist
That, and this.
Reply  ·  
Aelorn's avatar
Aelorn|Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I wish there was something like that for literature art... But luckily, literature art is stolen far less often than image art. Largely because many find it to not be real art.
Reply  ·  
Shamon-Bananas's avatar
Shamon-Bananas|Student General Artist
Now that you mention it, I had one on my page I really should protect, I think I did a pretty good job on it. Thanks for the info. I also saw the whole thing go down with :iconfishlover:, someone stole a picture, thankfully she added her watermark so he was reported and banned easily.
Reply  ·  
Streetster20's avatar
I haven't used watermarks.
But with the DA system - if you have a download link, does it have the watermark on that? or is it only on the preview, I'm curious - since if it's only on the previews, yes it deters some people, but it doesn't exactly fix the possible problems of stolen, or whatever.

But then again - I don't really have anything worth 'stealing' or anything really worth putting a watermark on, since it's mainly previews of stuff... :|

But yeah, with things like photo's and stuff, I'd reccomend putting some sort of watermark on it. But if your going to, try and either make it barely visible (so it blends into the photo) so sort of hide it somewhere. Or have it small, so people can still use your work for things such as wallpapers, etc. Without having a massive, ugly, watermark.

Thanks - also, sorry if this is longer than the actual article. XD Hope someone reads it. ;)
~Streetster20
Reply  ·  
Night-Watch-Man's avatar
Night-Watch-Man|Hobbyist Photographer
thanks,i always put the watermark on my works.:salute:
Reply  ·  
thewipeout's avatar
thewipeout|Hobbyist General Artist
I dont think my work's worth scrap but I'll do it right away. One man's garbage...
Reply  ·  
Masane's avatar
Masane|Hobbyist General Artist
I always use the watermarks. I have had a few people complain but I am protecting what I do and love.
Reply  ·  
MJMassey's avatar
MJMassey|Hobbyist General Artist
Not only do I sing most of my work and use the watermarks on most of the ones I am putting up on here, I always, and mean ALWAYS hind MJ in the drawling! I agree with you. I did Jessica Rabbit fan art once, it ended up on a tee at Hot Topic! Miss selling and all!
Reply  ·  
sunnydelight18's avatar
sunnydelight18|Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't understand why so many people are getting PO'ed at this. You keep saying "watermarks ruin images" "nobody will fave or comment on watermarked pieces". You have a choice. If you don't like the idea of watermarking, don't watermark. If you don't like images with watermarks on them, don't look at them! It's not like =o-eternal-o is making you watermark your work, so why make such a big deal out of it?

I usually watermark my works to a degree. I don't put it in the middle of the image, but I don't put it all the way in the corner either, and it's usually fairly small and opaque. Sometimes I just sign my name on them. Obviously, that could be edited out, but it's better than nothing. I find that if you have a huge watermark, it can take away from the image, so that's why I rarely use the DA one, but a small watermark that's opaque... well, I couldn't care less if it's there or not. So, I think it's very smart to watermark your pieces to avoid things like this :)
Reply  ·  
OddDreams101's avatar
OddDreams101|Hobbyist Writer
I bet someday I'll run across something I've come up with the concept for and/or actually done regardless, and to be honest I take photos and write for fun as opposed to making money. If that changes, I'l watermark the crap out of my work, add copyrights, the whole 9 yards. Until then, I'm content if I can prove it CAN make a profit (because honestly I'd laugh if someone decided to use my work and lost the shirt off their back because of it)

I agree with this article 100%
Reply  ·  
anonymous's avatar
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