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Terrie Terries Bears
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,614

Recently I have had a couple of my listings copied. The pictures and the description of the bear were copied and put up for sale on ebay china by someone else.

When I notified ebay they said that they could not find any proof that the pictures and text were actually mine and therefore could not do anything about it. How do I go about proving that the pictures and the bear are actually mine and is there anyway to stop someone else from copying your pictures off of the internet?

Shelli POTBELLY BEARS
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

THat's a great question.  I'll look forward to hearing anything that more expert folk might have to offer on this one.

Tammy Beckoning Bears
Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,737
Website

Hum, I know with my auction listing I have the optoin to make my "pictures right click protected" .  However, I'm sure someone could still steal the auction setup etc.   I'll see if I can find the HTML code to do this.

Maybe on the actual photo we should add small text stating they are copyright protected by "your name or business name.  I suppose someone could still cut out , or black out that part ???

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

WOW!  There has to be a way because on websites sometimes if you right click to try to copy something, it wont let you do it saying that it is copyrighted material.... Dilu has this on her website, maybe she can help...

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568
Website
kbonsall wrote:

Dilu has this on her website, maybe she can help...

Kim, how do you know?  bear_grin Just kidding!

I'm going to check out the auction hosting company I use to see if this can be done. Danni, we use the same, do you know how to do this???

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

How do you think I know  bear_tongue  I tried to email a pic of her bear to let he know what I was talking about and it wouldnt let me LOL

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

Terrie, thanks for the heads up on this.  I guess when I go back to selling bears on eBay after my last show of the year, I'll have to keep a close eye on eBay China  :(

If you are really interested in protecting your images as personal property, there are two ways to prove they are yours.  One would be to file for copyright on your images (it is possible to submit a ton of images all at once to the US Copyright Office for $30).  While you technically hold the copyright to all images you create, filing with the US Copyright Office is the only real way to prove you are the copyright owner in a court.  Personally, I have filed my mother's artwork with the copyright office, but have never bothered to do this with bear photos.  It would not be easy to, in this instance, say 'hey eBay, check the files at the copyright office'.  So this is good for some things, but not best in this case.

The other way to help prove that you are the owner would be to put a digital watermark on all of your images.  If you look through the toolbar of your nice graphics program (PhotoShop, Paint Shop Pro, and such) you will find an option for doing this.  However, you do need to pay for the service that registers and maintains the watermark info.  I have used Digimarc before, their site is http://www.digimarc.com  Prices have gone up recently, I see their lowest subscription level currently is protection of up to 1000 images for about $80 a year. I guess it depends on how important this is to you, as to whether you would want to shell out that kind of money on your pictures.  A digital watermark, by the way, embeds copyright information into the actual data that forms the image (it attaches it to pixels in the image that are invisible to the naked eye, or some such jargon).  You will not see a difference to the look of the image once you have watermarked it.  However, with watermark reading software (as is contained in programs like Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro), the watermark data can be read.  Watermarking takes your copyright information (this could be something like 'copyright 2005 Kelly Zimmerman DO NOT COPY' and stores  it repeatedly and invisibly in the image.  It is almost impossible to remove once the image has been watermarked.  (I say almost because it is possible.  If you were then to, for example, take the image and resize or generally manipulate it multiple times as a lossy jpeg AFTER watermarking it, the data would become so corrupted the watermark would be damaged and may not be readable by the proper software afterwards.  The good news about this is that to damage the watermark that badly, the image itself would be damaged and, theoretically, noone would want to steal such a shoddy image any more.)  If you do use a watermark, use it as the LAST step in your image optimization process, once you are completely done resizing and such, as I mentioned it can be damaged if you keep manipulating the image after the watermark is installed.  Watermark it and save it.  Two watermarks cannot be stored on the same image.  So if you watermark your image with your data, it is a very good way to prove it IS yours.

Now then, if I wanted a totally free way to mark my images, I might just put plain old text of my own across the actual image.  I hope it doesn't come to that, I hate images that have text all over them!

Anyway, good luck!
Kelly

Terrie Terries Bears
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,614

Thanks Kelly, for all of the great information.
I  had heard that a watermark could be removed by anyone who has the same program that the watermark was put on with, but if it is difficult to remove it would be worth a try. I am sure that these listing thieves aren't going to spend any more than they have to and probably wouldn't even try to remove a watermark. It would probably be proof enough for ebay to remove their listing.

Kim, that is what I was thinking about, because I have also tried to copy a picture that couldn't be copied. bear_original

Tammy, where do you see the "right click protected" option?

Laura Lynn Teddies by Laura Lynn
Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,622
Website

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

Hey there Kelly! 

Thanks for all the info.... got a question for ya here too.

This site is one of my hubby's favorites: http://www.dhsdiecast.com/

See that graphic in the upper left corner?  The grey and gold one that says "DHS Diecast"?   Well, when you right click to save it, you end up saving just a clear pixel gif.    (hubby wanted this... that's how i found out about it LOL!)

So... it looks like he put his image UNDER this clear pixel gif to prevent copying.  Any ideas how to do that? 

But... this is what I have been doing... and I've seen a couple of other bear artists doing it too.  At the top of my auction I put:  "I am being offered for adoption directly
from the artist if the seller ID is lauralynn777"  Here's one of those auctions:  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi … 5619093097

If EVERY artist on eBay started putting that in thier auctions, it MIGHT help deter some of those crooks ... maybe..... cause hopefully bear collectors will start looking for that???

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Pennsylvania
Posts: 5,645

Aw shucks...I just realized that your boo bears were sold  bear_sad

Tammy Beckoning Bears
Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,737
Website

Terri, the option is provided by my auction template provider ( www.robshelp.com) not ebay. But. here is the code that I found- it's java and all "greek" to me, but works.  I just cut and pasted it to one of my webpages and it worked like a charm.  You can't right click on anything on that page. 

Here is the website that I got it from. http://www.mcfedries.com/Javascript/NoRightClick.asp

If this was added to the end of your auction listing it would be a start to prevent copying: 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
<!--
if (document.all) {
}
else if (document.getElementById) {
    document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN)
}
else if (document.layers) {
    document.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN)
}

document.onmousedown = mousedown_handler

function mousedown_handler(mouse_event) {

    // This is the message that will appear
    var no_right_click = "Sorry, right-clicking is not allowed!"
   
    if (document.all) {

        //Probably Internet Explorer 4 and later
        if (event.button == 2 || event.button == 3) {
            alert(no_right_click)
            return false
        }
    }
    else if (document.getElementById) {

        // Probably Netscape 6 and later
        if (mouse_event.which == 3) {
            alert(no_right_click)
            return false
        }
    }
    else if (document.layers) {

        // Probably Netscape 4
        if (mouse_event.which == 3) {
            alert(no_right_click)
            return false
        }
    }
}


//-->
</SCRIPT>

ellen ontario, canada
Posts: 324

i'll go hunting for it in a minute but.....on nancy tillberg's site she has that free photo editing download...well on that website (the one where you download) they also have a water-marking free download....i'm pretty sure.  i saw it on there a while ago. 
bear_original

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

Tammy, did ebay China actually have a bear of yours to sell and were using all your info...or are they duplicating  just your info to make money, then have no bear to actually send to a buyer??? Is'nt this totally illegal?  Why wouldn't ebay want to protect thier  own image and jump in right away to stop this?

ellen ontario, canada
Posts: 324

thanx Tammy!  coool.

Helena Bears-a-Bruin!
Macclesfield, UK
Posts: 1,291

Hmm, what a worry...  :/. Sorry to hear you've been affected by this kind of theft, Terrie.

This page has a list of the different methods that can be used to protect images: http://www.artistscope.com/techniques.htm . It seems that all of pretty much all them can be circumvented by a determined & knowledgeable thief  :(. Even the digital watermark.

Surely the timing of the auctions should give some indication of the origin of the image?

Also, I never ever make alterations to my original photos....so I have copies of all the original images, and surely that's proof enough??? In addition, the original photo as saved from the camera contains something called exif data, which is hidden data specific to that photo that can only be accessed by certain software. There's a good free 'exif reader' here: http://www.takenet.or.jp/~ryuuji/miniso … d/english/ . Basically, if you have the original photo complete with the intact exif data, you can prove the photo came from your camera model on a certain date.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 18,295

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

All very interesting.  I discovered something several months ago quite by accident.  I LOVE t-shirts/jeans and wear them every day.  I was browsing the internet for bear t-shirts and came across a site that had a ton of them.  One category was the "unbearably" logos . . . as in "Teachers are Unbearably Caring" with a cute bear and teaching supplies on it.  Well, I discovered one of those t-shirts had a couple of MY bears on it with the slogan "Cheerleaders are Unbearably Charming" with poms poms and megaphone added to it.  They enlarged the smiles on my bears' faces, but the images were unmistakenly MY bears.  I'm assuming that "they" (whoever that is) got the bear images from my website.  Some of the other bears looked very much like artist teddies, while others appeared to be cartoon bears.  I ordered the cheerleaders shirt and underneath the graphic there was this . . . "[copyright symbol] Dowling Graphics, Inc. 2003".  Now, I'm wondering if I can get in touch with this outfit and let them know they are using MY images without my permission, or if by changing them slightly gets them off the hook.  If anybody is interested in looking at this site, the address is  www.fit2a-t.com and the category is Teddy Bears.  GRRRRR!!

It works if you just type "unbearably" in the search box.

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

Hi Terrie,

My understanding is that a VISIBLE watermark is pretty easily removed these days.  An invisible watermark (such as digital watermarking) is a difficult thing to tamper with, purely because it is repeated so much throughout the image data.  I got this off the Digimarc FAQ:

Can a digital watermark be removed?
Digimarc does not provide tools or software to remove its digital watermarks. Removing a Digimarc digital watermark without discernibly altering the image quality is a difficult process. We always suggest that the image creator/owner retain an original copy of the unwatermarked image.

As far as disabling right click, I think that is much easier to get around than removing a digital watermark.  With one key on my keyboard, I could do a print screen and then crop down to the image you're trying to protect in less than 60 seconds.  Just something to keep in mind.

Laura, that site is doing a neat trick!  The images at the top are actually all part of one background image as part of a big table.  Here is the background image (P.S. You did not hear this from me):

http://www.dhsdiecast.com/_images/graphics/hdr_full.jpg

So they have a series of smaller tables inside the big table, and are using clear gifs for links within the smaller table.  Very clever!  I guess it would be possible to do something like this with bear photos, but anyone that tried it would have to be handy with HTML.  And, as evidenced by the link I just gave you, it is not difficult to get around by anyone else that is handy with HTML  :D

Actually, I like Laura's suggestion of putting a disclaimer that the bear is being offered directly from the seller if the ID is _______.  Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

Cheers,
Kelly

P.S.  It is probably possible for a determined crook to get around ANYTHING you try to block them with.  Any of these techniques would at least discourage a less dedicated soul  bear_original

Pipa UK
Posts: 971

the no right click wont stop people stealing your pics. its easy to grab pics even with the no right click
can you not show ebay your old auction they stole the listing from ? that at least proves you listed it first.. Erm not sure what else you can do to prove it's yours ?  bear_sad

Terrie Terries Bears
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,614

Judi, they just used my information. I still had the bear in my posession because my listing was still on ebay. I received an email from another bear artist that sent me a listing number and suggested that I check it out because she was pretty sure that it was a fraudulent listing and perhaps I would like to make a complaint to ebay. I checked the sellers other items and there were 10 bears listed which were all currently on ebay in the featured area. All that they had done was go down the list and copy them all and relist them under their own name. The next day the listings had been removed and two days later this same person had 10 - 12 designer purses for sale.
The one good thing that has come out of this is a lesson to be well aware of who you are buying from because it is such a "buyer beware" market place. The sad thing is none of us want someone to buy a bear, thinking that it is our listing and not even get the bear! I can't  think of worse advertizing.

Terrie Terries Bears
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,614

That is a great idea Laura Lynn, I agree, sometimes the simpler the better!

Tammy Beckoning Bears
Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,737
Website

Laura Lynn , I think your suggestion probably is the best way to go too.  Thanks.
Easy to do yet effective ! :hug:

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749

I was just looking up more current info on digital watermarking (ah well, my knowledge was a few years old).  I guess these days not all are created equal, some tag on the information, others embed once or embed many times over.  Not all last equally well, and some are more easily removed than others.  Oh well, there's nothing that works so well that it can't be ruined eventually.  I'd just count it as one of many potential options to protect your images, none of which are foolproof.  I know National Geographic and Playboy used to swear by Digimarc to crack down on people swiping their content, but who knows what they're using these days.

Cheers,
Kelly

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Sue Ann, that's brutal. Those are soo YOUR bears!! How dare they use them. The 1st thing I would do is contact the company. Tell them you know it's your bear, send them a link to your website or something. Amazing what people will do eh??

As for the whole ebay thing. Don't have too much to offer, but I can say that I used to sell these polymer clay dragons on ebay, you can check out my link if you want to see them. Well, one lady decided to copy me, so she made a poly clay dragon, not as good as mine though  bear_tongue and copied my auction EXACTLY!! Down to the description, the font, the name of the dragon everything. So I sent her an email, saying I've noticed what she's done, and to please change it before I have to take any action. I am also part of a really big dollmakers list, and I told them. So about 100 of them sent her an angry email.
So guess what? She changed the auction, her dragon never sold and i never saw her again. Thank goodness.
So the moral of my story? We're all here for eachother, and if that auction is still going on, I'll be happy to send her an email. Very happy. Maybe someone else will also send her an email.
At least it's faster than asking ebay for help anyway,
Heather

Deb Upstate New York
Posts: 1,650

Terrie ~ Thank you for posting this.  I am finding myself being a little naive, but I don't understand why someone would post your bear for sale if they don't have it to sell.  What are they gonna do when the auction is over?

SueAnn ~ Now THAT is horrible.  You make those phone calls!  Grrr!

Watermarking of pictures sounds promising.  Lots of information to digest though!

My immediate thoughts are that I would be very upset to have someone copy my bear and republish in some way.  But do I care if someone has an auction that looks similar to mine, with a different item ... I'm not sure I do.

Disclaimer:  My monitor often looks dark, and I have copied pics here before, pasted into a photo editor and lightened so I could see your bears ... then deleted, of course.  (Actually, never saved.)  Hopefully no one offended.  My apologies if I boo-booed

Shelli POTBELLY BEARS
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Deb, you dear, I don't think that's the kind of photo stealing people are talking about here.  I'd be flattered if you had a catalog of my bears on your computer, personally.  I keep a stash of BEAR ARTIST inspiration in a folder on my desktop at all times, which I consult to get motivated to improve, work, etc.  It's for my own use, so it's okay.  I'm not representing it as mine, selling anything with the photos imprinted on it, or the like.  You're fine, I think.

Sue Ann... I checked out that site.  What nerve!  Yes, those are clearly your bears.  Criminies.  Can't people think and work for themselves?  I know it's exhausting, and just one more thing to get through that takes energy, but I think your situation is worth pursuing, too.  Not sure where you'd go for that.  An attorney specializing in copyrights?

Ugh.

Good luck!

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