4 August 2011
So you think you're OK if your image is watermarked? It's big, bold, in uppercase letters and hits you right between the eyes as soon as you clamp your beedies on it. No-one will steal your images and use them for free if there is a whopping great watermark, surely? Well, even if someone does use an image with a watermark, they will at least know that it belongs to someone else and that they should have paid for the use, or got permission? Think again.
I have just had a bizzare email conversation with the "founder" of aella.org, or "The Alliance for Earth, Life, Liberty and Advocation"; (I had to look up that last, baffling word, which has something to do with Scots Law and, it appears, naff all to do with the site's campaign message. It means; the action of a superior court in calling before itself or reviewing an action originally brought before an inferior court). I had cause to contact aella.org to request that an image of mine (see above) which was being used be taken down or a small fee paid. If there was any chance of the latter happening, then I would have gladly supplied an unwatermarked image. I had a polite reply from the "founder" apologising (sort of). He said, "We were unaware that the image belonged to you...". Well, it certainly did not belong to them! Such peremptory responses calls for a response in kind and so I pointed out that the image had a clear watermark. The reply back; "I did not see, or notice a watermark"!!! Admittedly the colour of the watermark against the beach makes it subtle, but unless you think the random action of waves on a storm beach has miraculously ordered the pebbles so as to advertise the site from where the picture was lifted, it is still pretty hard to miss. The biscuit has been firmly taken.