Date: 2004-02-27 14:08:00
Tags: photos, web
photo gallery copyright
While perusing my web server logs recently, I noticed several referer hits from a German train message board post. While discussing freight trains, somebody wrote a post that linked directly to one of my pictures taken at Tehachapi Loop. Now, I don't really have a big problem with this sort of thing, especially when the poster says things like "found a few spectacular pictures from Tehachapi Pass", but there was no credit given to the photographer (me) or a link back to my site.

So I finally got around to doing something I've been thinking about for a while. I modified my photo gallery software to add a copyright notice to the bottom of every image. The thumbnail images have just a copyright notice with the date and my name; the larger ones have the copyright, URL to the image page, and the description (if available). Now, the inlined image on the train message board shows the description, copyright, and URL to the original.

I still have a little bit of work to do. Currently all the images claim they are copyright 2004, but I'm going to add the ability to set a specific copyright date for each image or set of images. Also there are a couple of images which were not actually created by me, which shouldn't have my copyright. I'll get all this sorted out soon.

Initially I was unhappy about how the copyright notice looked on the thumbnail pages, but I reduced its size a little bit and I think it looks okay now. What do you think?
shouldn't you make the copyright a water mark so it can't be easily cropped out?
I considered that too, but I'm not really concerned about people maliciously stealing images. Almost anything I might do can be easily defeated, unless I add a huge annoying watermark that destroys the quality of the image. So, I'm happy at this point to keep it the way it is, so that the copyright and url is included for people who may not realize they're using copyrighted content.
I much prefer to just disable remote loading rather than mess with editing my images.

I understand that with your software it's very little work for you once it's put in place, but for me it's too much. I like my images to be free of such markings. That's just how I am :)
I figured that since these images were already scaled for display, it wouldn't be a big deal to annotate them as well, at least as far as the technical aspect of image quality is concerned. There is still the aesthetic aspect of the omnipresent annotation, but I'm comfortable with that now. I still keep the full unadulterated image file around, too.
In a sort-of-related topic, putting "IMG_5411.JPG" into the Google Image search returns an amazing kaleidescope of images :)
What about only integrating the copyright if the REFERRER !=|net ? I assume that all overlays are done dynamically...
The annotations are added statically when the gallery is generated. I thought about looking at the Referer header to determine whether to add the annotation, but ultimately I decided that was not good behaviour. For example, if two users are behind a caching proxy, and one views an image from a page on and the other from elsewhere, they will end up getting the same image. If the source HTML uses width/height image attributes, then the image will be scaled incorrectly. This may also happen if the user's browser (or proxy) does not send the Referer header to the server.
Greg Hewgill <>