Images and the Internet
ArtistScope develops software that protects the integrity of images displayed
on the web and in other electronic media.
The software offers workable solutions to creators of images who are
concerned that images they post to the web can be stolen, copied,
or corrupted illegally. By using a suite of ArtistScope's tools, or
by selecting only one that suits your needs, content creators can
ensure the integrity of their images is not compromised and that their
intellectual property rights are maintained.
The software currently
available under the ArtistScope umbrella include tools that will restrict
a visitor's ability to copy and print images and page content from
the web. In addition to these and other features, different tools
in the available suite can be configured to provide access to authorized
users only. Further information about the potential of the software
is available here.
Why is protection necessary?
With the growing importance of e-commerce transactions and the ongoing
need to ensure the artistic integrity of images, it is essential that
images displayed on the web be protected from illegal copying and
As the nature of the web means most websites are open to search spiders
and 'grab' type applications, most website content is available to
most users. This availability means images on the web are exposed
in quite specific ways, such as those listed below. (Further information
about these vulnerabilities is available by selecting the link.)
Many artists have found images they have carefully and laboriously created before uploading
to the web have been used on other websites either as direct copies
or in collage material.
Some creators have found their images incorporated into corporate logos with only
minimal alteration. Some have found their artworks advertised online
for sale as prints. Others have had their work entered into art contests
by complete strangers without their knowledge.
Any such action taken without the consent of the artist is obviously illegal. And
without specific protection, the entire body of work by an artist
can be downloaded to disk as fast as the user's Internet service will
allow. In most cases this is as fast as the user can double-click
on all the images.
Bandwidth theft is the term that describes the illegal linking to graphic images on
Whenever that link is accessed, the creator of the image and web site, not the user
downloading the image, is paying for the bandwidth used for viewing
the image. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) charge for or limit
access according to bandwidth, such illegal linking can add substantially
to maintenance costs of the creator's web site.
Unfortunately however, most people who display graphics on their site are probably
unaware that this is occurring. Without protection, attempting to
police or prevent bandwidth theft is time consuming and a very inexact
All content on a web page can be captured and downloaded to a viewer's computer by
simply pressing the Print Screen button on the keyboard.
By doing this,
a snapshot of the whole screen is captured at the user's monitor resolution,
usually 72 to 96 dots per inch (dpi). When captured at such resolution,
most images show little deterioration and can be re-used on the Internet
or as clip art by scaling down for use on brochures and leaflets.
This is, again, another obviously illegal use of online images.
Capture programs, although useful as design tools for legitimate intentions, can also
be used to capture on-screen images for incorporation into other designs
without the authorization or knowledge of the creator and owner of
The processes used in screen capture vary according to what the target and end use
may be, but without dedicated protection, original images are vulnerable
to such theft.
The very nature of the language of web pages means most content on the web can be
linked to from another web site. Such unauthorized linking occurs
when a user links to your image from their web page without your consent.
The result of such action is that the unauthorized user is giving the appearance
that the legal owner of the image consents to this link and is endorsing
the activities of that site.
Spider and Grab Utilities
Even though the links to your files and images are stored within folders that are
only linked to or referenced from the main pages and indexes, these
items can be downloaded from your website without an unauthorized
user ever visiting or calling these indexes or main pages.
By using a freely available spider program, an inventory of content on a remote website
can be made and saved on another computer. On an unprotected website
this means that the user can gain list every item on your website,
save them to disk and use them without even visiting your website.
'Grab' programs are also available that will locate and download all the files in
a folder to which it is directed. This means that everything from
your Applets and Java class files to your original images can be downloaded
and utilized on the illegal user's website.
Inappropriate features of web browsers
Changes in modern web browsers is of concern to those interested in protecting their images from copy or theft.
Right-clicking on the mouse on an image in most web browsers window not only prompts
the user to save the image to their computer, but also saves the whole
page and every image and component on the page, including the background
tiles, to a folder created by the browser.
Breach of Copyright
Copyright notices are easy to ignore.
Images that are uploaded to the web with a copyright notice attached can still be
copied or manipulated by an unauthorized user without the consent
of the owner of the image. Even when an image owner notices a copyright
breach, the difficulty of working in international jurisdictions means
few image owners could police every breach of copyright.
The only way a copyright owner can limit their exposure to such breaches is to attach
specific tools and applications to their images.
Who needs protection?
Anyone who creates content that is then displayed or distributed on the web can use ArtistScope's
products to protect their intellectual property rights from being
Industry professionals, photographers and artists, commercial enterprises and educational
institution are a few examples of people who can use ArtistScope's
products to prevent their online images from illegal copying, printing
What kind of protection does ArtistScope offer?
Depending on the level of security required, different products are available in the
ArtistScope software suite. While some users may need extensive image security that involves several
pieces of software ensuring image protection is as high as possible,
others may need simpler controlling mechanisms.
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