Avast There Ye Lubbers!
The International Talk Like A Pirate day came and went last year and we arrrred for all we were worth. In some cases it was about 56¢ worth...but it was a good day to celebrate slavery, murder, and theft on the high seas. The rum was particularly refreshing after the pillaging.
Being a pillager is fun, and profitable. Being a pillagee sucks. This is why the music producers make such an effort to seize pirated copies of their CDs and other recorded pieces of music and prosecute the offenders. I remember seeing television footage of thousands of discs being crushed under a front-end loader somewhere in Siam or the Dutch East Indies with the officers of the local militia standing around shaking hands for the camera.
I couldn't help wondering if they would have had a more effective message had they substituted the local sellers of the discs under the wheels of the loader. Or a few of the tourists who keep the trade alive by buying them.
In the photo world piracy seems to be expressed in two ways; stealing images off the net and displaying them on your own website and swarming through the studio windows of your local business rival with a knife between your teeth. Both are bad, but the first one particularly so - bloodshed is something that can be cleaned up with a mop and bucket but stolen images are on the net FOREVER. And ask as you might, it is nearly impossible to find someone who can remove them. Once your rival steals your picture of mysterious gunman on the grassy knoll, you will never get the credit you deserve.
How to combat this sort of thing? The studio invasion is easy - a small swivel gun loaded with langridge and trained on the window is cheap and simple insurance. Okay, you may have to replace the glass and repaint the wall a couple of times but your average pirate will get the message quickly. The website thefts are another matter.
Watermarking, copyrighting, studio advertising, outright defacement, all serve to make an image unattractive to pirates. They also make it unattractive to clients. You can do a number of computer tricks that make it awkward to try to download something but eventually a client will roast you for making it difficult to do. And eventually every computer command system ages or breaks down - my Pong game is getting problematical.
Then YOU can't download, upload, or control it. And it lurches away forever telling people what a klutz you are. If you don't believe me look at all the computer sites that went feral in 2004 and are still there...
The safest way to present your work is still in print form, in a steel frame, with a strong chain attached to the edge of the frame. Hold on to one end of the chain with one hand and a cutlass with the other hand. Arrrrrr....