protecting your artwork online

Hello everyone, I wasn’t sure which forum to ask this, but I am sure every artist out there thought of this or will think of it at some point. After posting your digital art or 3D work online, is there a way to protect it?so No one will try to claim it’s their work or sell it?is there a way to prevent them of using your work? Thank you

There is software that can insert a digital watermark into your work. It’s unseen, but can be used to prove it’s yours in case of a dispute. Of course you have to discover for yourself whether someone is posting your work as their own. Occasionally doing a reverse image search on your most cherished works can help you find out if they’re being posted elsewhere.

Steve S

Also, learn about and scrupulously follow the Copyright laws in your country. In the United States, (administered by the Library of Congress) is a good source of authoritative information, as well as the avenue by which you can electronically register your work (or, an arbitrary-sized “collection” of works, to save time and money) for protection, which by law takes effect immediately.

Your work should carry an inconspicuous, but visible, copyright notice. It should also be present in the metadata of the file. Sound recordings should also contain notice metadata. It should always be possible to determine (a) that a copyright claim has been made, and (b) who made it, such that an “innocent infringement defense” would not be sustained. (I have even seen “U.S. Copyright Reg# 12345678 filed 04-July-1976,” or what-have you, in file metadata. “Making it very easy on the judge,” as well as to the potential infringer. “You were warned.”)

But also: control the distribution and availability of your work! If you want to “show it off,” stamp a visible watermark on top of it. Prevent misappropriation of your work by rendering it unusable for that purpose, as every stock-photo house does.

It’s unrealistic to expect people to pay for something if they don’t have to, and if they know you won’t catch them. (“Possession is the greater part of …” etc.) But, then again, given that you as the copyright owner control such things, why did you permit them? Could it not be argued in the defendant’s defense that you were negligent in enforcing your own professed rights? (In fact, it can. There is actually a binding legal term for this notion: the Doctrine of Laches.)

If you consider the work to be something that is only “for sale,” don’t make it usably available to the general public without obliging them to buy it from you. If you consider your work to be “a prize race-horse,” and wish for the Honorable Court to side with you, then you must consistently treat it as someone would ordinarily treat a prize horse. You did not offer it indiscriminately, were vigilant in protecting it, put up “No Tresspassing” signs and a fence and a guard, and so on. So that the person who now is found to be in possession of it “truly stole it from you,” and has no excuse in the matter. This requires “extra effort” on your part, and the Court will wish to see that you went to that effort.

FYI: On all web sites where I use copyrighted stock-photo materials, I both add metadata of my own (recording “what web-site this image was stolen from”), but I also put copyright information on the page and in the HTML-comments of the page, to the effect of: “Images on this page are the licensed property of © ShutterStock, and are used herein under that license.” I buy large images, digitally reduce them to maintain clarity, and watermark them (again). Yeah, I am covering my :eek: but also demonstrating explicit respect for copyright.

What is the software called please?

Right now, I am in the process of posting my art that is still work in progress. Do you think I should copyright my WIP work? Also, when do you recommend to start copy Right art work such as 3d animations? Am just afraid of working so hard on my artwork and posting it online to get recognition for it(on youtube) and someone will try to take advantage of it and abuse my art and take credit for it or even selling it?..:no:

Steve S

What I do is I only post glimpses of my artwork for recognition and when I think people like it, I will then upload it to Turbo Squid with a squid watermark.

The higher grade your work is the more you should consider registering the copyright. And for showing off and posting here and there. Yes a watermark is nice, But if you don’t have to post it in its highest resolution, then don’t.

As for people stealing artwork, You can go to the unity store and download a dozen free characters, Bust them open and you will see half of them look like meshes from tutorials This one seems popular for that, And a significant amount of what you see will be people rebranding others work as their own. I would say its less then 30% that does that there. But it is a significant issue.

Last year I opted into 7 start up projects, and of them 2 of the OP’s made many solicitations very early on to get whatever assets people had to donate, incidentally both of them had a unity shop as well. But I am sure that is just happenstance. Now I am not saying don’t join group projects and don’t show you stuff of. But what I am saying is don’t ever put anything onto the table that you are not willing to lose or protect. And above all work in fingerprints into your work.
If you are making a character for animation, use a consistent naming convention that you use in your other works. Use a consistent UV layout in all of your works. Keep your original blends for this. This way if shit does get real and you go to court, you will have that much more to aid in your case.

Hope for the best, But plan for the worst. And when you plan for the worst but a little paranoid. And you can find about 200 hours worth of information on copyright on youtube. And as a random trivia it seems lawyers like to do photography as a hobby and then post youtube vids on how to copyright your own works. Seriously there is quite a few of them.

So, is there a simple way of protecting my work online? Will it be effective and will it protect my work if I created a trademark, register that trademark in my name and put the trademark on my character pants as if it was a style of the pants to blend in,but it’s actually there as a copyright protection tactic? Or just creating a trademark is enough? Or I have to copyright my work? Thanks in advance

I gave you two links that should be a start for research. But dude, copyright law is a dank and murky thing. Just block of a couple weekends and sit down to research. Follow some links and see what you learn.

But in short everything you make and put online is considered “copyrighted” Although that don’t matter a whole hell of a lot until it is registered. srsly spend a day following the links on youtube. You can find lawyers who will bitch about this for hours at a time.

A trademark protects the use of a distinct product-name and/or logo or corporate symbol. For instance, the names “Ruby,” “Rails,” and “Ruby on Rails” are all trademarked, as one intrepid author rudely discovered when he tried to publish his own programming book and was served with a cease-and-desist order.

You should always register your trademarks. In the US, you can do this online for $35 and you can simultaneously register a "collection of as many works as you wish for that price. (Copyright registration applies equally and severally to all of them. The notion of a “collection” is simply procedural, to make things easier for the paper-pushers.)

Registering your trademark makes your claim of ownership official, and verifiable. If you try to sell something, a publisher will ordinarily verify that the work is registered, as part of protecting their own butt. :slight_smile:

Then, inconspicuously add a notice of copyright: the circle-c © symbol, the word “Copyright” or the abbreviation “Copr.”

You’re required to post visible notice. Most file formats can hold descriptive metadata, including copyright notices. “Use that, too.” On any web-page where you exhibit the work, include a visible notice there, too. And so on. (“Don’t be an a*shole about it, just be sure that it’s there and can be seen.”) :slight_smile:

If ever there comes a point where you assert that your copyright has been violated such that you are entitled to receive damages, or “cease and desist” action by the Honorable Court, the Court will look to see that you “minded your P’s and Q’s.” That your actions, in preparing and publishing the work and in all that you did thereafter, support your claim that the work is indeed valuable and that the offender has no valid defense of “innocence.” The burden is largely on you as the person bringing the charge, since everyone has the privilege to be “presumed innocent.”

A Bit of citation for that please, I’ve heard it before and mostly from people who later got sued. It is helpful but not required according to the reading I’ve done. And this is from sources world wide. Now granted if it comes to a legal case a public notice will only help your case if it is your work that is infringed. But just because a photo online does not have a copyright notice on it, it does not mean it is free to use. As it seems someone at least once every few months on linked-in laments about that.

Some plain English sources.

Hey guys, my name is Chloe, and a crew of us made a program that Encrypts your 3D assets. It’s called D3CRYPT3D. We just launched the beta today and would love for you to register, test it out, and give us any feedback you may have. We just want to make an amazing product and finally get 3D artists the credit they deserve.

Here is the link to download the software-