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preventing stealing of web images

how to prevent visitors stealing images from site



4:33 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hi, I am new to website development. Have noticed that some images on my website have been copied and used on my competitor's site. The tag line descriptions have even been left intact! I saw somewhere that it is possible to prevent this copying but have no clue how to do this myself. By right-clicking on an image, the tagline message "stealing is wrong" would appear. Could one of you point me in the right direction? By the way, I am not suggesting that I have never done the same and copied an interesting image myself ... now I know what it feels like.
Kabouter, BC


4:40 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The simple answer is you cannot protect any image on the web, period!

Even if you had all kinds of fancy scripts it will still only takes one press of the "print screen" button on any keyboard and you have the image.



5:06 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The basic fact is that almost anyone capable of using your images, is capable of getting round the protection.

If you can see it in a browser, you can steal it.


5:14 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry Kabouter, but they are right, you can't prevent anyone from stealing it. Even if you disable the right click option, there are plenty of 'other' ways to get the image from you.

If you really value your images and want to protect them, put a watermark or some other identifying graphic across the image. Chances are, the competitor won't want to be bothered taking the time to remove it. You'll see this done on many of stock image or poster sites. Good luck!


5:22 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks guys, for your quick response!
How do you disable to right click on the mouse option?
It might just disuade some of the basic webmasters with little experience such as myself.
Thanks again,


5:24 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The 'no right click' is usually a JavaScript. Check out hotscripts.com and do a search for 'no right click'....


7:10 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Here are a couple of right click disable scripts:


This may frustrate your thieves enough to move on to someone else. Since they are stealing, they are usually lazy by nature and may not bother finding the image in your source.

You can also try digitally watermarking all your images to show ownership and then sending cease and desist letters to violaters. It is actually amazing how many webmasters don't know this is wrong or just don't think anyone will do anything about it.


7:24 pm on Jan 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks JamesR and Balinor! I will check out those sites and try the scripts on my webpages. Thanks so much! It is obvious to me that I should take a course or something and learn about html etc etc because most of the stuff people on this forum talk about is 'over my head'. I would have no idea whatsoever as to how webmasters can get any image regardless of safeguards etc. But hey, it's fun learning and I appreciate it that you all take the time to help a beginner! Thanks again


1:51 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Just keep reading these forums and you will be amazed at how quickly you learn! IMHO, this is by far the best resource out there.


2:12 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

and for those thieves that are too lazy to move to another site and get irritated by the no right click.. ..

I advice you to temporarily to turn JScript support off in your browser.

Most people you want nick/borrow stuff from have simply lifted them from somewhere else and want to pretend they own them.

I also find that sites thats uyse invisibilty on an image in order to antialias with a coloured background can often have images that are the hardest to nick.

Print screen and you get an image on their nast yellow

Right click and you get a pixely image surrounded by pixely grey.

It makes me thinkt hat coured BG and time spent with invisibilty might make it more hassle than its worth to nick the image.


2:16 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

There is a service called Digimarc and you can use it to embed your digital watermark in the code.

It won't stop them from copying the image, but it does tend to quickly settle arguments as to who is the copyright holder of the image.


9:51 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You can't prevent people taking them.

If a user browses your site and sees a picture, IT IS ALEADY ON HIS/HER COMPUTER, as it has already been cached, everything viewed in a browser window has been downloaded fully onto the client PC before viewing. So no amount of scripting is going to make any difference.

You have three options then.

1) Live with it, after all you decide to put the pictures out there for anyone to see, complaining about people taking them is like leaving a laod of 10 notes outside on the pavement in the morning and expecting them all to be there when you get home.

2) Don't put your pics online in the first place.

3) Put degraded versions online. This works well if you are selling pictures becasue you can put a low resolution/partial/watermarked picture online and sell the full one. However it doesnt stop the person you sold it to then distributing it.

For the life of me though I can't see why anyone would need to protect their pictures unless they are selling them for some reason.


9:52 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

P.S. If you know who is using them and they were definately your pictures first then you can sue them for breach of copyright as you automatically own the copyright of anything you publish on the web. Although this would seem a little excessive to me unless they are using them to dfame your company, in which case that is libellous too.


10:06 am on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Before you put a "No Right Click Script" on your site you may wish to read the many discussions that have taken place about the downside for visitors useability.

Example: [webmasterworld.com...]


8:25 pm on Jan 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks to all who responded to my question regarding how to get a 'no right click'. Especially the link that Piskie just provided turned out to be very interesting - thanks!

From where I am at, I figure that deciding whether or not to use 'no right click' COMPLETELY depends on the website and its purpose (in my case a small-town B&B).
For instance, I find it annoying if a competitor grabs an animated image and/or some well-written text and those things are part of my 'business image'. Using a 'no right click' may deter most competitors, who in this particular area are by no means experienced web-masters!. As for annoying your visitors: Most visitors to my website will not be annoyed, as many will not use the right-click in the first place. But of course everyone will have to consider all those valuable points before deciding.

But I agree with you all, that there is NO way to protect your picture or images or text from anyone who really wants it. I have in the meantime checked out and used the links and advice of some of you and put the no right click on my pages and I love it. Thanks so much for your help!

Chilliwack, BC


4:48 pm on Jan 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Don't do the no-rght-click thing.

Watermark the images instead.

Don't try to prevent stealing. Just, make them not worth stealing.


6:10 pm on Jan 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I agree watermarking would be better. The no-right click makes a site look so unprofessional. I bet small businesses who are naive enough to use such a thing actually lose potential customers because of it. After all, you're telling each visitor I don't trust you; I think you're a thief; and I also think you're extremely dumb not to know how to get around my little speed bump.

People use right mouse click for other things like navigation. Most sites would not be caught dead with this because they know the bad impression it leaves, it doesn't work in all browsers, it's useless in preventing those who are apt to steal, or stopping anyone from going into their browser's cache to take what they want.


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