I hate terribly that I have to spend even a minute on this subject, but I thought I'd get it out of the way as a way to close out 2008 rather than to start out 2009! I'm basically having to start using a watermark on all of my galleries.
Folks, most of you know by now that I don't spend a single minute on the showgrounds trying to sell a photo to you. I spend my time making sure that I and my team take great pictures that you will want to buy, then I let you decide if and when you want to purchase any of them. I take the same quality and quantity of everyone regardless of buying history. My prices are below the average when compared against my competition pretty much throughout the southeast. Up to this point my sales have been just fine, so I've figured that my method has been correct.
What I have found in the last quarter, however, is that my images have been stolen rather regularly from my site via the "print-screen" method. I've known about this loophole pretty much all along, but I didn't realize until very recently how often and by how many people this has been done. Basically, I've been the putz!
It's mostly being done on the social networking sites. Most of those taking these I feel just really don't know that they are stealing because so many are doing it. Others know exactly what they're doing and just figure they won't get caught. Regardless, they are being stolen. Parents take note: If you see my watermark on your kids' Facebook or MySpace pages, the image was stolen from me! If there isn't a watermark, then I'll know the image was on a disc that was purchase from me.
I don't plan to do much at all going backwards to find all the people who've done this. The watermark will do. Other colleagues have installed ip address and keystroke reporting as a way to get right to the culprits. For now I don't plan to spend any time doing this. I'll just see how the new year progresses!
In the meantime, enjoy your pictures, and let's get 2009 off to a great start!