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Photo Gallery images.
How to protect them?

 8:24 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've created a photo gallery with more than 100 pictures and, I would like to protect them. In fact I paid rights on them so I don't want to see them all around the WWW!!
What would be the best way to do it without spoiling them?
Thanks for answering me!

p.s. Or should I pay 4$ and ask Google answers?



 9:05 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Keep your money, man. We've been looking at image library software ourselves for a number of clients, and I've got a few neat ideas. Sticky me

More generally, there are a few packages designed to do this sort of work, but they are really aimed at massive (100,000+ images) libraries, the Corbis's of this world. The prices are enterprise scale too

I had a look around, and there is very little in the lower end of the market, once you get away from Photo Album type software, which simply helps to organise images, but does nothing for security etc

Depending on how you are set up with your server, you could have it deliver different images depending on who is asking (ie if you spot someone stealing your images, future requests from that IP/range get an image with "These guys are rip-off merchants!" or something)


 9:15 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you want to protect them from automated crawlers, you could just put them in a seperate directory and disallow that from being crawled.


 9:49 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks TallTroll and Rumbas,

I just want to protect them graphically, I mean I don't want people to use them for their businesses etc..
It's ok if they're crawled even because now there a lot of images directory ( google, fast )
I'll sticky you TallTroll.
Thanks again.


 12:30 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

How can you protect against someone taking a screenshot? As far as I can see, if someone's monitor is displaying the image, then they can steal it.


 1:08 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

The best way I have found is creating a flash movie. That is about the best way to protect your images, but as tedster says it is impossible to stop a screenshot. You can only make it a pain in the arse.


 1:22 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> Screenshot

Thats why you use watermarking. Any image displayed on the Web is lowish res, and has a damn great copyright notice over it, noting the source domain

Some packages do it on the fly, otherwise you have to pre-process the images before releasing them to the Web. Sharp eyes are the best defence really though. Sad that it has to be reactive, not proactive, but the Web is based on trust, which is sometimes abused. *shrug*


 3:21 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Screen captures even grab Flash images so there is not much that can be done in that regard. Watermarks work to a degree, but even they are not foolproof.

Bottom line? If someone wants them, they will get them without regard for copyright notices or "disable right-click" scripts.


 3:26 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I once saw somebody put each image in its own directory. each direcotry was named as though it was a file. (i.e. "image1.jpg" was the directory name. Then within each directory was an index.html page that grabbbed the file from somehwere else.
to the browser, it looked like you were looking at www.domain.com/image1.jpg, but when you tried to save that file name it didn't work.

Ultimately, it was just a little misdirection. It still didn't prevent me...er...anyone from obtaining the image, but it was pretty creative.



 4:45 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Watermarks are your only real line of defense, and that's pretty weak. If someone wants an image, they can get it. If they want it badly enough, they'll even remove the watermark.

You can also erect some defenses like htaccess preventing other web sites from poaching images [webmasterworld.com], disable right-click, etc.


 5:23 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Even without screencaptures the images are in your cache the second you view the page...


 6:26 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I saw some type of software on a satellite imaging website one time that allows you to see the image in the browser, but won't let you save it at all (I guess because it is treated as a plugin and not an image or something) and when you tried to take a screenshot, the image would somehow cover itself with the logo of the software, so you couldn't see the picture at all. The thing is, I don't remember where it was...but it was really handy. Only bad thing was that you have to download a plugin for the browser.



 6:30 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Ask archive.org what they do... I tried to save some of MY OWN images from one of my old sites off their server, and the files I ended up with on my hard drive wouldn't open in any of my image editors or viewers. Just threw errors about the file everytime I tried.

(*doh* Didn't even think of grabbing a screenshot though. That would work fine for my needs...)


 6:51 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have been to sites where you cannot right click to save the image. However if you have IE6, you can just hover over a photo and it is possible to save it, also dragging directly to photoshop and as mentioned screenshot is another way. Tough one!


 8:26 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

PitMonkee, that solution would stop anyone but a technical type stealing the image, but basically if you can see it on the screen, you can steal it, if you really want to.

Using a proprietory data format for display (requiring the plug-in) is a stronger line of defence, but its kind of hard to make it work for general surfers. Some are so paranoid they won't d/l Flash, because they think it'll do strange and terrible things to their machine. Even if there is some kind of trick in there to disable the "print screen" method, with the right gear you can just tap it straight off the monitor feed.

Ultimately, all of these methods are aimed at protecting your own images by making it easier to steal someone elses, and for the moment, thats about as good as you get.


 9:08 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is what I do. It doesn't stop people from stealing the image using a screen shot, but it does help.

<meta http-equiv=Pragma content=no-cache>
<META HTTP-EQUIV="imagetoolbar" CONTENT="no">
<meta http-equiv=expires content=0>
<script language="JavaScript">
//Copyrighted Image Protector 2 Version 1.1
//functionality developed by winffb.com/logos 2000-2002
function nocontextmenu()
event.cancelBubble = true
event.returnValue = false;

return false;

function norightclick(e)
if (window.Event)
if (e.which == 2 e.which == 3)
return false;
if (event.button == 2 event.button == 3)
event.cancelBubble = true
event.returnValue = false;
return false;

if (document.layers) {
document.oncontextmenu = nocontextmenu;
document.onmousedown = norightclick;
document.onmouseup = norightclick;
</head><body OnLoad=trap()></body>

I call the image from a smaller file using Java Script so the person visiting the larger image must have their browser Java Script enabled. This function basically disables all caching/history problems. Any right click features, and it disables the IE 6 image toolbar. Weaknesses include (but are not limited to) "pulling" the image into the address bar. I fix this by popping the image into its own window that doesn't display the address bar. It can still be abused though. Also, as stated above. Screen captures trump all. If they can see it, they can steal it.


 9:18 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi wolfy, are these photos/pictures for your users/members to view?


T Suresh Babu

 5:51 am on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hai Purple martin,

As you said the user may not be able to steal the image directly.

But all the jpg,gifs goes into the user's cache memory so he can easily use it.

another method of image stealing is print screen (image capture).

Flash images can be protected. But it can also be captured using print screen.

So no method is 100% fool proof to stop image stealing.

-Suresh Babu


 6:01 am on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Saw a tip months ago where someone used CSS to put a clear gif in a layer OVER their jpeg image.

When someone tried to copy the jpeg, they got only the clear gif. Don't remember the details.
But that's no help for screen dumps or recovery from the client's cache.

DigiMarc is pretty expensive, but (last I looked) they offer a service for tracking your watermarks around the web for you.

Watermarks like DigiMarc also don't fit into the smaller graphics files (jpeg image had to be over approximately 250px to 300px square) and can corrupt image files that are nearly too small for them to fit into.

Some image databases (ThumbsPlus) recognize watermarks and let you work with them, some do not.


 6:18 am on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

OK guys, try this:

Save Me! [home.earthlink.net]

This my help against the AVERAGE user.

Every little bit helps!



 2:35 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Guess I am confused...

http://home.earthlink.net/~msr986/real_image.gif was the image from looking at the source code.



 7:09 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Reflect, you must be smarter than the average user.

The point of the table is to make it difficult to save the image utilizing the browser.

The "average" user is not going to dive into the source code to extract an image file name.

When you try to save this image using the browser, all you get is a blank image.

We ALL know that their is virtually NO way to stop a determined person from snatching an image. All we can do is make it a little bit harder.

Like I said:

1. This may help against the AVERAGE user.

2. Every little bit helps!



 10:11 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

And it's a lot simpler than messing with the right click, and it works even when Javascript is disabled.

A nice tool for the toolbox. Thanks!


 10:29 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've got it!

Encode your images with fractal moire technology. Have users sign up and register at your site... after obtaining their address, send them a de-coder ring and special viewing glasses required to see the special moire patterns.

It's just that simple.



 11:09 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

I was gonna say that!


 11:25 pm on Apr 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

Anything short of what meannate suggests is rather pointless; if somebody is motivated, they're going to get your images. My question is, if somebody "steals" my image, and then they modify it in a rather large manner, are they still guilty of infringing my copyright? I'm thinking of the Andy Warhol's "One Hundred Cans" of Campbel soup, or his other work with the Coca-Cola bottles. I'm sure that those corporations didn't give Warhol permission, but he used their likenesses to make his own work (and profit). Anybody aware of the law on this matter? Any precidents?

P.S. I've found that the best defense is posting ugly overly-compressed .jpg images (overexposed or blurry images are especially safe) ;)


 12:26 am on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Actually, there is an activeX component you can buy that will load your pictures and display them. If you take a screenshot of them it actually will not work! I have tried this. Trust me.

That is the whole sure fire way to protect your images. Sometype of program that does not register with the clip board. But Netscape and non-IE browsers will not be able to view it.

Search Google for the program, I am sure you can find it.


 12:50 am on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)
I just found this site, you may want to look at this, try looking at the demonstration images.



 1:07 am on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)
The flying text over the image doesn't make your pictures very nice to look at, and I was able to copy it using a screen capture, a good graphic person can then repair the picture and take out the text... but why I would not look at a site that rotated text over the image. Would you look at the statue of David if there was a man jumping in front of it blocking people from taking pictures.

I was talking about Clever Content 2.0, Although it looks like it was discontinued and renamed Mirage 2.0.



 1:09 am on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree, and rubber stamping would take out any of that.

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >
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