I’m back at a computer and so can respond better.

You’re right Gretchen, anyone who is even reasonably good at Photoshop can wipe out a watermark. I once timed myself as a “challenge” issued by an artist who didn’t believe it was possible to do so. I love a good dare. It took me about 40 minutes on an extremely complicated image with an intricate watermark (and yes—I used another friend’s image with permission for the experiment in a live public lecture format).

I worry that, if our copyrights are further eroded, it will not only be easier for nefarious thieves to steal our images, but that it also will be easier for them to claim that they are “orphaned” artworks.

I’ve been using Digimarc for some time now, which adds an invisible watermark within the pixels of an image, but I will certainly be researching whether or not I need to upgrade my plan to something more impenetrable and with more feedback to me. And yes, more expensive (sigh again). I’ll let everyone know what I find as I continue to research this further.

In the meantime, I think we should do what the stock photo houses are doing: if we are watermarking our images, we should add additional information specific to each artwork in the watermark, as well as use the Photoshop or Illustrator filters (depending on where you create your watermark) to uniquely warp or tweak each one. The danger with the new algorithms is using the same watermark, even at different sizes, across all your images on the web. It can easily find and wipe out typography (e.g., artist’s name and copyright date) as well as logos and ghosted “x’s” through the image.

Please let me know anything else anyone finds out. Frankly, I also find it quite unsettling that this happened a month ago and I’m just learning about it through my professional subscriptions now…


Deborah Shaw
dbShaw Studios
cell: 949.887.3465

On Aug 24, 2017, at 5:21 PM, gretchen halpert <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

It sounds as though we, as individuals who watermark with our names, are not at risk for Google's algorithm. 

Anyone who wants to can Photoshop out our watermarks. At this time, I'm more concerned about that and about our copy rights. Still, this another step toward easy theft.

Thanks for the article, Deb.


Gretchen Halpert
Scientific Illustration Distance Program

On Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 7:52 PM, Deborah Shaw <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Please see the latest articles about Google's new algorithm that automatically strips watermarks from images and restores the pixels. 

Start with the "Wired" article for a quick concrete explanation: WIRED:Stock Photo Companies Randomize Their Watermarks to Foil Google's Thieving Algorithm


Deb Shaw

Sent from my iPhone
Please excuse brevity, autocorrect and typos


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