How do you protect your artwork online?

You create some great pieces of art, and you have developed quite a following — but you’re worried that it won’t be long before someone with an Etsy store or an eBay account will figure out how to copy your work and resell it as their own.

How do you balance the problem of exhibiting your work online so that you gain exposure and interest and protecting it from theft? Here are some tips:

  • Go low-res and small: Using a low-resolution image doesn’t appeal to a lot of artists because it doesn’t show the detail of their work. However, small low-res images can convey your work’s quality but be impossible to enlarge and print.

  • Use partial images: If you’re still yearning to show people just how detailed your work really is, a partial image that can be enlarged by “rolling over” the thumbnail image with a cursor can accomplish that goal safely.

  • Add a copyright notice: A lot of people mistakenly believe that every image they see on the internet is up for grabs. A copyright notice stakes your claim can dissuade unintentional thefts.

  • Add a watermark image: A watermark allows you to display your work in a larger photo without fear that it can be easily copied or used. That’s often enough to stop people without technical skills from taking your work.

  • Disable right-clicks: This makes it much harder for some casual browsers to copy your work and use it later. It’s a simple, often under-utilized trick to protect your


Finally, if someone does use your work on their products or website, you have a right to take action. An attorney can help you understand your legal options.

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