Downside of Posting A Photo Without Watermark, And Making It Available To Public

I was browsing my photo library and found again the picture that I believe was grabbed, by one facebook user, without my permission. This actually happened few months ago, but only my friends knew about it. I decided to write this blog so you’ll be aware of the downside of posting your own photo without watermark, and of course for all of us to be reminded of proper netiquette.

Ok, so let me share how things started. I posted some photos of our trip to Talisayen Cove, and it was set to public. I am very much aware that internet users have access to these photos and it was fine with me, because the main purpose why I allowed it to be viewed by public was to inspire and encourage them to include the place in their bucket list.

Again, i know that everybody has access to my downloaded photos, however, I never really expected that someone will have the nerve to just grab and edit it, and worse, use it for travel advertisement without caring to ask for my permission. Now, here’s the catch. The text inserted in the photo was not its real location.

This is the original, raw photo that I took:

This is the edited, grabbed photo. This place is Talisayen Cove and not Nagsasa Cove:

Few minutes after I made the post in my personal account, I saw this edited photo in a travel page that I also follow. It was used to advertise an island hopping tour package. I wanted to send a comment but decided not to because I still had to do some office work from home (well, i regret not telling the person).

From what happened, the photo grabber seemed to forget some netiquette:

1. Give Credit. Using other’s photo is ok but please have the decency to give credit if you cannot personally ask for the owner’s approval to grab a photo.

2. Do Not Mislead People. The photo grabber deceived other people by marking it with a wrong location. Apparently, he posted fake information when he made an offer for island hopping. Sharing photo with wrong location is like sharing fake news.

3. Have Sense of Professionalism. He was offering a tour but he doesn’t have any original photo of the location. He also didn’t consider reaching out to the owner of the photo that he grabbed. If he wanted to offer a great deal, then he should’ve visited the place himself first and take a good photo to share with  other travelers.

What have I learned from this experience?

1. Do not tolerate netizens’ wrongdoing. My photos do not have copyright symbol nor any watermark because I am totally ok if others want to share it (well, except of course for photos of myself). I just don’t like it being used to fool other people. As i have said, I regret not telling the person that I knew what he did. He could’ve deleted it immediately if he was informed.

2. Validate carefully the travel package offers. Do not be cozened by exciting photos and cheap rates. Avail travel package only from registered travel agencies, or better yet, plan a DIY trip.

Internet now occupies a huge part of our lives. It helps us in many ways so we should use it responsibly. Let’s not abuse the benefit we get from it.

14 thoughts on “Downside of Posting A Photo Without Watermark, And Making It Available To Public

  1. That’s why a watermark is a must for photos nowadays. With all the travel blogs that sprout like mushrooms nowadays, there will eventually be a few that will steal others’ pictures and cover their tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This happened to me way back in 2007 when I photographed a festival in Bukidnon. I placed a watermark at the bottom right part of my photos, yet 2 bloggers cropped it, and presented it on their blogs without any attribution. I believe they earned from the traffic that went to their sites, but they never acknowledged me or my effort.

    Only when I posted in a local photography forum did someone (turned out kilala niya ang isa) informed them. They took down my photo. But only after earning from it.

    I have this debate in my mind for the longest time if I should put a watermark on my images or not. On one hand, for proper attribution and a deterrent to image theft. On the other hand, I do not want to ruin the visual experience for anyone who looks at my photos. There’s no perfect solution to it.

    Through the years I stopped putting watermarks, believing that the visual experience comes first and foremost, and that karma will eventually get back at image thieves. (Besides, Google has a search method for finding out if you have unauthorized use of your works.)

    But I still hear that voice inside my head, telling me to be careful about not putting any watermark.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, so that’s how desperate they are talaga. Yes, karma will get back at them but we should also try to do something to make them realize that it is never right to take credit for someone’s work, and yeah, be careful.


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