Tai Tam, Hong Kong
Watermarks – The Way To Go?
Just the way it seems to be in this day and age. Thus, I make no apologies for “desecrating” my images and slapping on these huge watermarks. Its seems to go with the territory out there these days – a reflection of sorts on what’s happening out there in the wider world, so to speak.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
What with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which, sort of wobbles and distorts prevailing copyright legislation,, this to suit some parties and this, at the expense of others involved in the “creation” process. In the process, this Act seeks to put a little distance between the creators and the works they have created or participated in creating.
Digital Economy Act of 2010
The UK recently passed the Digital Economy Act of 2010. This Act does much the same thing as the above.
While there are lots of provisions in both pieces of legislation to protect, defend and prosecute infringement, more often than not, this largely depends on who is going to use this legislation.
Mainly, it is there to help big business. At this point in time, the main beneficiaries seem to be in the music, motion picture and broadcasting industries. Tucked in behind this lot somewhere may be the software industry. Trailing out in the back somewhere is the publishing industry. And, of course, photographers and other content creators have been left behind in the dust, so to speak.
Since the US and UK seem to be the one’s setting a precedent in these matters, more often than not, other nations seem likely to follow suit, especially those nations where English is largely used as a means of communication – spoken and otherwise.
Much of this recent legislation has gone on to better define what are now referred to as “orphan works“. In some ways this may be a good thing. In others ways, it seems like a new can of worms has been opened up.
An orphan work is defined as, “A copyrighted work for which the copyright owner can no longer be contacted”. And, herein, as they say, the devil lies in the detail. The emphasis here lies in that little tail-end phrase, “…can no longer be contacted”.
In something of a spotted reading of the legislation and various commentaries, it is almost incumbent upon the creator to make sure that he or she can both be identified as the creator of a particular work AND that he or she can be contacted by some means or other.
Hence, my rather gross watermark.
From the earliest times of the Internet through to the present, I have continually tried to find ways to visibly mark my images before presenting them on the Internet. And before anybody gets it wrong, presenting my work on the Internet is not moving my work into the “public domain” where, whoever so chooses, can do what they like with these images. Things don’t work that way. And, for those who do, well, there’s my watermark to contend with.
In times past, I used to my name and copyright symbol – as in © rogan coles. This doesn’t cut it anymore. In the recent past I’ve since added an email address. This mix can still found on some images on this site.
The next part of this “evolutionary” process is the watermark, such as the one used in the image above. This watermark is now a real WATERMARK!, It now has my name, contact details and, let’s just say, a little something extra – this in the line where it says, “to have this watermark removed, buy a licence to use this image”. Its as simple as that, if someone wants to use the image, buy a licence.
“Licence”? Yes, we have a little semantics at play here – as in the US verses English spelling thing. Not quite as bad as disc and disk but, there is the appropriate use of language here was well – as in wanting to license something and buying a licence to use something. A small footnote.
The evolution of the above watermark arose out of my experiences at my previous image archiving site. Any image use I had there (as opposed to sales) came from individuals either downloading my images or, copying and pasting them and making use of those images irrespective.
This being the case, I needed to state the obvious and, here we have it. A case of avoiding the orphan works thing, staking my claim to my work and, let’s just say, encouraging those who want to use my work, to buy a licence for that purpose.
On a final note. Yes, I make extensive use of the IPTC metadata fields within my images – more for image and digital asset management than anything else. For the most part and, other than those in the know, this tends to be a waste of time though. In general, who out there really has the facilities let alone the interest to check out any of this IPTC metadata stored in images they might retrieve and eventually use? Very few, if any – should they ever bother.
And, there we have it – enjoy. Comments and queries are welcome.
[ 170921 – as a PS and BTW, the email address in the watermark is now redundant – DO NOT USE. This watermark has also since been “retired”.]
TECHNICAL NOTES: This image was taken with a Canon EOS 1D MkII using a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L USM Lens.
Where else to find us on the web
Rogan’s work is featured on the following websites:
This is a portfolio website featuring some of Rogan’s social documentary photography using Fuji gear.
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Interested in buying a print or licencing this image? You’re in the right place. For the time being, please contact me using our contact form. For prices, please check out our print price guide. Commercial use image licensing starts at US$250/image/usage. We could come to some arrangement for personal downloads. If you’re interested, please let me know.
You can find out more about Rogan and why he does what he does here on his ‘Artist’s Statement’ page.
More photography can be reviewed at our sister websites, The Lost Years Project and the Rogan Coles Photo Shop. Yes, we have an online web store where we sell fine art photography but, this print might not be featured there.
originally written and posted on 131218 – reposted on 190119 – revised on 230322.