You sure have seen this post. It has spread like wildfire over the past few days so I doubt there is any artist out there who hasn’t seen it. But even if you didn’t, you should read on because I’m about to tell you a handy little thing that can help you to protect your art from such assholes as the anon who submitted this bullcrap, as well as art thieves in general.
The magic word is Metadata.
Metadata is like an invisible signature that is embeded into a file. It can contain all kinds of information, like Title, date, keywords for online seach engines, and copyright information. And the best thing is, since this information is “hidden” in the code of your picture, it’s hard to remove it.
There is a nice basic tutorial on how to add Metadata, or “additional file information” to your images in photoshop. It’s really, really easy so check it out!
I’m not sure if you can do the same with any other art program. If you know how to do this in other programs / can confirm that it works the same way there, please tell me so I can add the information to this post.
Adding the Metadata will not stop idiots from taking and reposting your art. It also won’t make them stop editing out your signature. It WILL however, help you prove that you are the original artist whenever you have to.
Always remember my friends. You, the artist, are protected by law. No one has the right to take your intellectual property and hard work and repost, use or edit it without your permission. Ever.
Before you think, “GOSH, I should post this to Tumblr! It’s sure to get me a million notes!” you should consider something – It’s probably already on there, likely posted by the person who created the content in the first place.
So what should you do instead of reposting that thingy you found and potentially putting someone out? Let’s start with right-clicking on the picture.
Now copy that image address! We’re goin’ to http://images.google.com!
See that little camera icon? Click on that SOB and you’ll get a box that looks like this:
Now paste the URL you just copied into that box and click “Search by Image”.
Wow, it looks like that picture is all over the place – including Tumblr! Amazing! I wonder what happens if I click on that first link!
Okay, so it wasn’t at the very top, but scroll down a little bit, and… HARK! A SOURCE! Now you know where the post came from, and you can reblog it from there instead of spreading a redundant post!
Seriously. In this specific case, the reposted images are on pace to surpass the original in note count. Yes, the other post was sourced to Imgur, but Imgur is NOT A VALID SOURCE. Neither is FunnyJunk, nor 9gag, nor Facebook unless the artist posted the work there themselves. The average person probably doesn’t take the time to click through two or three pages to try and root out the original, so you’re doing creatives a massive disservice by doing this, especially in the case where the piece is a collaboration.
This takes literally 30 seconds of legwork. Due diligence, please. I know posts like this have been made before, but apparently it bears repeating.
This has been a Public Service Announcement.