We all enjoy looking at other people’s photographs online, but a constant problem is misappropriation or actual theft of what is personal intellectual property. I don’t mean something simple like cutting and pasting a stock joke or cartoon into an email and sending it to your frined. I’m talking about someone stealing your photos or writing and recasting them as their own original material. Given the gazillions of images and words on the Internet, it might be challenging to find, but it might also surprise you when you do a search for a unique string of words form something that you’ve posted (and probably forgotten), that it appears somewhere else, quite unexpectedly or looking a bit different.

I’m researching and teaching myself how to build an ‘author platform’, which is all the buzz these days, and use social media to my advantage so that when I’m ready to go full-frontal with my books, I’ll have built a solid base. It’s easy enough to throw up a Twitter identity, a Facebook page (although that venue is getting less useful), a Pinterest site (fun but mind-boggling) and a Linked-In profile (very handy for business purposes), but how do you keep them relevant and useful? What takes up so much time and energy is what’s called ‘content management’ or ‘curating content’. I think I’ll add ‘content curator’ to my business card. I’m also using it for my other website (The Police Professional), which seems to be taking me forever to tweak/police.

I figure, if the material I find is useful for me, it might be of some interest to others, so I’m going to add another ‘day’ and make Sunday’s posts (when I get to them), a Did You Know feature.

STEP ONE: This week I’m writing about WATERMARKING. I’ve used in in Microsoft Word, on documents (draft, confidential, etc.) for consulting projects. I bought Photoshop, but truthfully, it’s too complex and slow for what I want to achieve (it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good, I say). I now use Picassa which is a Google product, free, easy to use, keeps things organized and did I say it was free?

STEP TWO: If you don’t have Picassa yet, you can click on over to THIS SITE and download it. Read the FAQ then let it do its thing spelunking images and phtos and logos from your hard drive as you sit back and watch in wonderment.

STEP THREE: I’ve included below the simple instructions I found for watermarking photos before uploading or emailing. It works, as you can see from the example I’ve posted on the right.

Your photos mean something to you, so why not take a few minutes and add an identifying logo or website or name to each of them before posting. Of course there’ll be trolls who simple crop it out or reverse-engineer, but hey, you can’t protect everything to the nth degree. My photo is a bit squidgy (resizing/optimizing is something else I have to learn) but you get the picture.

Now of course, I need to go back and watermark and repost my own photos…some time…soon.

Google - adding Picassa watermarks OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA