Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Prevent Image Theft on Your Website

updated on Aug 30, 2016
How to Prevent Image Theft on Your Website If you have published quality images on your website and make money from them, image theft should be a problem that you have been fighting against for a long time. Although it is somewhat flattering to see your images are favored by other people, taking advantage of others' hard work without permission is unethical and illegal. What's worse, image theft may affect your blogging income.

You may have already noticed how copyright is important, but have your strategies applied to stop image theft worked? In this tutorial, we will discuss four of the effective ways to prevent and fight against the image theft on your website. These methods may not be able to help you stop all the bad behaviors, but they are really useful in reducing image theft to the minimum.

Watermark All Your Images

Adding watermarks to images works efficiently for stopping the image theft on stock photography sites. You can either add a textual copyright as the watermark, or use semi-transparent images. It seems that the latter is more popular nowadays.

There is a downside of using watermarks. That is, your images may not look the same appealing when they are watermarked. However, this disadvantage can be surmounted if you add watermarks strategically and tastefully. So we'd suggest you take this method if you have a lot of stock images to protect.

If your website is built with WordPress, the most popular CMS, you can automate the watermarking process by installing a plugin like Easy Watermark. This plugin enables you to upload your own image as the watermark image, or add a custom watermark text.

Besides, it comes with a lot of customization options which allow you to select the image types and image sizes, back up the original images, watermark the old images, etc. You should gain enough power and flexibility from Easy Watermark. If you want the detailed instructions for using the plugin, read this tutorial.

Prevent Image Theft with Watermarks

Disable Right-Click

When you view images in most of the modern web browsers, you can right click to get an option of saving the images to your local computer, which makes it easy to download images from others' websites without being permitted. Considering this fact, you can disable right-click on your website to prevent the simple stealing behavior.

Although disabling the right-click capability cannot stop the tech-savvy people from stealing your images, it is indeed effective in protecting your website from those who don't bother to look at your HTML or look for other advanced ways of copying images.

If you are running a WordPress site, disabling right-click can be done with the WP Content Copy Protection plugin or the No Right Click Images Plugin. However, both plugins have some disadvantages. For example, the former disables right-click on your entire page, which may cause inconvenience. The latter option only disables the capability on images, but it hasn't been updated for over two years.

It is worth noting that the No Right Click Images Plugin is actively installed on over 30,000 WordPress sites, and it has been maintaining a high user rating of 4.9 of 5.

Prevent Image Theft by Disabling Right-Click

Disable Image Hotlinking

Hotlinking is a practice that someone displays an image on his/her website by linking to the image source on your site. By doing so, the person doesn't need to store a copy of the image on his/her own website. Each time the image is viewed, it is loaded from your website, and your bandwidth is consumed. Therefore, hotlinking is a bad practice that results in both the copyright violation and bandwidth theft.

There are several ways to protect the images on your website from hotlinking. You can set up hotlink protection by using the dedicated tool offered in cPanel, edit the .htaccess file of your website, or use a plugin like Hotlink Protection.

Prevent Image Theft by Disabling Hotlinking

Add a Copyright Notice & DMCA Badge

Copyright notices and DMCA badges act as deterrents to those who prefer casual downloads on others' websites. Such things may help your visitors realize that they should get your permissions before they can download your images or use any other content on your site.

Many website themes nowadays come with a built-in copyright notice which is placed in the website footer. If yours doesn't, you can create a dynamic copyright notice manually. Even the manual way doesn't require much technical knowledge because you can make use of the ready-to-use code snippets shared by the advanced users.

Besides the simple copyright notice in the footer, you can also add some copyright texts in your website's sidebar to arouse more attention.

Prevent Image Theft by Adding a Copyright Notice offers multiple badges which you can place on your website to tell that your site is DMCA protected. Besides the official badges, you can also make your own one with your website information.

By registering a DMCA protection badge, you are able to make use of the takedown service if you catch someone who is using your content, image, video and more without getting permissions. In addition, the DMCA service can monitor your protected pages to prevent image theft.

Prevent Image Theft by Adding a DMCA Badge