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However, for a regular website (where the images are "for show" rather than "for sale"), unless you want ugly watermarks across the middle of all your images, there's really no cost/time effective way to prevent image theft that I know of.
There are ways around watermarks, they can be taken out of the image, this thread will give you a good idea how impossible it is to protect an image. Sorry for not giving any good news.
[edited by: mahlon at 5:52 pm (utc) on June 3, 2002]
Why wouldn't this idea work. Using a java applet to display the images on your webpage. You have the option of encryption and the image doesn't exist on the users system unless you want it to. Also there is no right mouse click/save as unless you code it in. The only thing this does not cover is screen capture.
I do realize there is a really big draw back to this approach. That being the size and speed of java user interface controls. If you had a gallery page that was there to show off your pictures with a bigger view the visitors would be expecting big downloads to begin with. I have never tried this approach but would tend to believe that until a webpage can detect a screen capture this is your best bet.
I would love to hear from anybody that has actually tried this. What success of draw backs were found?
Because if it displays on screen, it can be pirated, regardless of the delivery method. There are lots of techniques you can use to discourage casual or less technically skilled pirates from swiping your images and/or sucking your bandwidth, but all you can really do it make it harder.
Its one of the penalties you pay for the web being based on open, free exchange of information