Well, here we are. We know now that there are unscrupulous, lazy ass people out there who have no qualms with copying and pasting your tutorial into a blog plastered with ads. Or maybe just to make it look like they’ve written your tutorial, like recently happened to the lovely Susy of Suzy’s Sitcom.
My lovely friend Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads hinted that a tutorial might be in order, now that I’ve done all this research and ruminating. I put it to you guys, and you seemed to think it a good idea, so here goes:
What can you do to protect yourself? We’ll be looking at this over the next 3 weeks, and I’ll discuss
- protecting your photos
- copyright and Creative Commons copyrighting
- checking for plagiarism – or, has your tutorial already been ripped off?
Today I’ll look at protecting your photos. This is probably THE most important thing you can do to protect yourself. There are two ways to do it:
You can do it like this, with a subtle watermark in the corner, like I’ve done here. Now, this looks pretty good and the benefit is that the object is clearly visible. BUT, it’s about 10 minutes of work to crop all that out of all of your tutorial photos, and then the thief has this:
Looks a little odd, but if you hadn’t seen the top one, would you even really notice? Probably not. I admit that 99% of would-be thieves could not be bothered to crop your name out, but what if you have a really brilliant, really original tutorial? You know, you’ve seen them before – the ones that make you gasp, and then you find out later that they got put in some magazine or something.
That IS worth protecting, right?
Well then, how about this? Subtle, but I’m learning… Notice I’ve put my web address in there, the ‘.co.uk’ bit – I recommend you do that too, especially if you’re self-hosting. If not, you can probably get away with just your blog name:
HERE IS WHAT I RECOMMEND: Mark your ‘finished’ photos like the first uncropped picture above – my tutorials page is comprised of these types of photos. HERE’S WHY: What if you leave a ‘gossip tip’ on Craft Gossip and they want to feature your tutorial? Or oneprettything wants to feature it? They need one finished photo to add to the post, and a watermarked one might look a little odd.
For the tutorial photos themselves, use a PROPER watermark, like in the mug rug picture above. That way, no one will be able to steal your tutorial without it being VERY obvious, and not worth doing. I’m not trying to plug my own tutorials, but it is the easiest way to show you what I mean: so if you want to see it in action, try my quilt binding tutorial, my flying geese mug rug tutorial, or my camera strap cover tutorial and look at the pics. Not perfect, but it gets the job done, and I try to put them in a place that is BOTH out of the way of the ‘action’ and a place where they can’t be cropped out easily.
If you don’t have PhotoShop, or you’re like me and you have it but don’t know how to use it, you can do all kinds of stuff to your photos FOR FREE on picnik. I LOVE picnik.
- Go to picnik.com and upload your photo
- While in Edit, resize and crop as necessary (my photos are usually 400 pixels wide)
- Push the ‘Create’ tab, and select ‘text’
- Add your blog name and choose the size and font.
- Then, in the little pull down list labeled ‘Advanced Blend Modes’, choose OVERLAY
- Now, play with placement and size, etc until you are happy.
- Select ‘Save and Share’ and save!
My clever friend Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads has contributed these instructions for you Mac users:
There are a million different ways to use PhotoShop to watermark your photos (apparently), and as there are different versions as well, I recommend you Google ‘watermark photoshop 6’ or whatever applies to your version. Trust me, you don’t want my help!
I know it adds an extra layer of faff, and if you’re using picnik it gets really tedious doing every photo seperately, BUT it WILL protect your photos. If it’s obvious they’re stolen, they’re not worth stealing. It’s easier for the thieving jackasses to move on to another, unprotected blog.
Or, when we all get wise, they won’t be able to steal anything at all. A day which I quite happily look forward to.
I’ll be back with the results of even more research next week!
© J C Excell, 2011