Tutorial Tuesday, Tutorials, UK craft blog

Tutorial Tuesday: Protect Your Blog – part 1 of 3 (photos)

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:

This works well for your 'finished' photos, but not so well for the actual tutorial pics.

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:

The stitching and the open end is the 'action' in this photo, and the watermark doesn't interfere with your view of it.

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.

  1. Go to picnik.com and upload your photo
  2. While in Edit, resize and crop as necessary (my photos are usually 400 pixels wide)
  3. Push the ‘Create’ tab, and select ‘text’
  4. Add your blog name and choose the size and font.
  5. Then, in the little pull down list labeled ‘Advanced Blend Modes’, choose OVERLAY
  6. Now, play with placement and size, etc until you are happy.
  7. Select ‘Save and Share’ and save!

My clever friend Stephanie of Spontaneous Threads has contributed these instructions for you Mac users:

1. download your photos from your camera into iphoto or choose an existing photo
2. drag your photo into Preview (mine is in my little icon bar at the bottom of my screen)
3. Preview opens with your photo
4. from the pulldown menu Tools, select Annotate and add Text
5. Drag the little text box to where you would like it on your photo
6. Type your name, or your blog name or whatever your “Watermark” is, then highlight your name and if you want,  you can now change font styles and colors, size etc.
7. While still in your text box, depress the option(alt) key and “g”, which will give you the © (copyright) symbol and the add the year (I forgot to do this initially).
8. when everything is to your liking, from the pull down menu select File and Save
9. Close out of Preview by selecting that little red dot (top left of your open page)
10. Your “Watermarked” photo goes directly back into iphoto
11. Advice- you should probably put the watermark somewhere if it were to be “cropped” out by someone stealing it, it would be obvious that the photo had been tampered with. And if you would like to retain your photo watermark free, copy it first.

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

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23 thoughts on “Tutorial Tuesday: Protect Your Blog – part 1 of 3 (photos)

  1. I love your post, I’ve pretty much given up on not having my work copied. I started ebooks, and recently heard that a group went together purchased one set and then copied for others. The copy store called from Texas! ! I’m sure they just went down the road and other shop did it ! NUTS, I don’t understand why people don’t get we have bills to pay too ! Again, Thanks for the post !

  2. Thank you for sharing all your research on this! I’m sorry you had to go through the theft, but thank you for sharing this with others.

  3. Came here from Diane Stanley’s site – thanks for the tips. I generally just add text because I haven’t learned how to use my PSE! You’ve motivated me to get busy. I’ll spread the word, too.

  4. What a brilliant tutorial! I just used Picnik using your super easy to follow instructions. Have just added a watermark and will be doing so in the future.

  5. i got around to trying this last night but used my Photoshop elements program and searched for a tutorial on line. I found one that allows me to process multiple photos all at the same time. It takes about 2 minutes to watermark 25 photos. I will be doing this every time from now on. Thanks Jen!

  6. Wow,girl. Awesome tutorial. And I’m not just saying that because you linked me. ha! Lesson learned the hard way for me, but that is the way it goes.

    I am watermarking mine now with Microsoft powerpoint. Seems to work well.

    Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I am looking forward to reading parts 2 and 3.


  7. Hi,
    I had 10 tutorials pinched by a site in Turkey and the person who submitted them got paid!!!
    I use Picassa but I have not been able to work out if there is a way of watermarking my pictures. I was very disappointed to read about the ebook being photocopied. Perhaps photocopying shops could be more vigilant about what they copy, in truth they should not copy anything that is already printed! We have strict laws in education regarding what you can an can not copy.
    I shall give picnik a go.

  8. I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours as of late, yet I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It?s pretty price sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made just right content as you probably did, the internet can be much more helpful than ever before.

  9. WOW – THANK YOU, Jenna!!! This is SO helpful! I haven’t watermarked my photos before now, and wasn’t really sure how to do so. This helps – a LOT! I appreciate this so much!!! Whew! 🙂

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