If you value your images you should take the necessary steps to protect them. In the first part of a two-part series, we explain how to stop your photos being stolen and misused.

Do you ever ask yourself: how do I protect the images on my website? How exactly do you stop people from downloading your photos? 

Image theft is a significant problem, not only for individuals, but for businesses and other organizations with an online presence. And it’s a particular concern for those who rely on images to sell their products or services. 

There are many reasons why someone may wish to steal an image. It may simply be for personal use rather than any publication, or it may be with the intention of deceiving others or for financial gain – if not for something even more sinister. 

Many photographers have found their images to have been stolen from their website or social media page, and used without authorization elsewhere. Some businesses have even found their entire websites to have been cloned and used to sell counterfeit copies of a popular product. This can put a dent in a company’s profitability or perhaps even damage the brand as a whole.

There are many ways of protecting images online and pros and cons to each approach. Should you watermark your images? How do you disable right-clicking? And how do you protect images on social media?

In the first part of a two-part feature, we’ll examine the various ways in which image security can be compromised, and what you can do to protect your images so that they don’t end up being used without your authorization.

Social media: How to protect your images on Facebook, Instagram and other sites

Many of us choose to share images on social media sites, whether they’re personal or professional. While this may be the quickest way to get them seen by our intended audience, this is also an obvious place from which they can be stolen.

Furthermore, few people that post images here understand exactly what they’ve already agreed to when they opened up an account on that platform.

When you sign up for a social media account, you will typically agree to a number of different things. Most social media Terms of Use agreements will state that posting content on their platforms – which, of course, includes your images – gives them certain a license to that use content.

Ostensibly, this is required so that the platform can deliver this content appropriately across different devices. A more cynical view would be that the platform is trying to steal your images or exploit this content in some other way. 

The fact that these agreements are typically written in complex legalese means that not only will most people not read them in full, but even if they do they won’t necessarily understand them. T