Copyrights / Watermarks / Instagram / Tumblr Pinterest and a personal story

March 23, 2014

As you guessed from the title today I want to talk a little bit about how protected our original content is, our photos,our ideas and at the very end our personal lives.

I have been wondering for a long time if I should be embedding a watermark on my photos. 

The more people come and read my blog the more my photos will appear everywhere on internet and for that I must say I am both excited but also a little skeptical.

To start off even when writing this post, some of you might recognize both of these photos above and below.

I originally posted them on my Instagram without having the intention of also posting them on my blog as I do for quite a lot of photos. I try to keep my blog and my Instagram as fresh as possible by not making a duplicate of each other.

Yesterday as I was going through my Pinterest feed I was surprised to find both of these images repeatedly pinned from various sources. While this exposure is a great thing I wish there was a way for the photos to point to me rather to someones tumblr without mentioning the source or a singular image to the browser. 

As much as I don’t like it happening to me I don’t like it when it happens to others either. There are so many times that I get to a pin of an image I really like and there is no way to find it’s original source. I would love to follow the person behind the photo but even Google Image search might not help as much.

A Personal Story

A few days ago something else happened that I would like to include to this post.

While I was randomly browsing on Instagram I stumbled upon an account using quite a lot of my photos taken both from my own feed as well as from my blog. This is not something new. A lot of Instagram users will post inspirational photos and quite a lot of the times will not mention the source. As I mentioned above it could very well be because they just don’t know who the photo belongs to and most of the times they don’t claim ownership. Whenever I will stumble upon such an instance I will politely ask to be tagged on the photo and thank the user for doing so. What was new about this case, this particular user I am referring to not only did not respond but deleted my comment as well. I wrote a second one again asking politely for my photos to be tagged or at this point removed. Once more my comment was deleted. I took screenshots of this and posted on my own Instagram and proceeded to send the user another comment asking to remove my photos or I would be reporting them to Instagram. At this point the user blocked me. A lot of my followers demanded answers and left their own comments in that users account some were deleted without answering and to some the response was trying to allude that they didn’t know what the source was. This is funny because first, originally they were alluding the photos were originally theirs in their comments and second because they kept deleting the comments that were pointing to the actual source and blocking any complaints about this.

The photos that were stolen from me also contained my original text to accompany them which made me even more upset. Not only was this person taking my photos to promote themselves but was also at the same time impersonating me. I immediately send Instagram an official complaint, marking all the photos that were stolen and explaining the situation. Shortly after they moved to remove all the photos from said account but I was surprised the account was still there, claiming other people’s photos and maybe again my own in the future. 

This is only a fraction of what can and will happen when people either maliciously try to hide the original source of your photos or otherwise believe it doesn’t really matter what they pin or if they post a photo without naming the source. 

There are ways we can all help others with this situation and help ourselves as well. 

1. Watermark your own photos. Even though I am trying to avoid that I think time has come that I have to.

2. When you pin an image, directly do so from the website you found it. If you separately open the image and then pin it then the source will again be lost.

3. When pinning from Instagram  mention the source in your comment.

4. Use tumblr in good conscience and always link back to the source. 

A final note.

Every blogger will be more than happy to have their photos shared but please always link back to the original source. We put a lot of effort in this, please help us as to not be devalued.

Thank you and have a great Sunday!

Follow me on Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter | Bloglovin | Feedly



Photographs taken by Katerina Dima unless otherwise stated.

11 comments on “Copyrights / Watermarks / Instagram / Tumblr Pinterest and a personal story”

  • Anonymous says:

    This is so true! Pages like Tumblr and Pinterest (Instagram too) are both a blessing and a curse – sometimes I wanted to post a picture that inspired me but failed to find the original source and therefore had to leave it. What I'm thinking of as a second solution is to state on my blog (I haven't done so yet) as a general reference that some images are borrowed and if anyone detects the original source or that the source I've stated is wrong to let me know about it. Sometimes it's frustrating to search all over the web for original links, and often times they might actually be deleted altogether (this happened to me once). But I'm always happy to be corrected. Watermarks are also something I've been thinking of, at least then you'd be able to Google the page on the basis of the blog's name… Your pictures are always so well put together and beautiful that I completely understand your frustration when others have copied them without linking to your website.

    • Katerina says:

      Sometimes it's so hard to find the owner of some photos. But what is important is that people like you and me will always try to give fair credit when we can and if there is an image that is not credited and the owner contacts you,you are more than happy to tag or remove. I know a lot of my photos will be lost within internet and all the social media, what upsets me is when people do it in purpose and even worse like in my case outright take advantage of my own photos to gain popularity then block me when I raise concern about my own photos! I find it sad that someone stoops that low but unfortunately that is not a unique case and it wont be either the first or the last!Keep up with how you write your blog I just recently discovered it as well and I love it!*hugs*

  • Vilja @ muotoseikka says:

    Thanks for this. I have been thinking about the same subject for a long time. Don't watermark either, because I think it ruins the photo, but I maybe have to change my mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Katerina says:

      I still don't want to watermark my photos either. When I first started blogging I would watermark them but I soon stopped as I didn't really like the result. I am very close to starting again though this time hopefully I will find a way that is not too intrusive!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a love hate relationship with tumblr. It's gotten to a point where I find beautiful photos, but even after about an hour of following "reblogs" I cannot find the original source of the photo. Pinterest is my main media platform for inspiration, although unfortunately I feel that its integrity is also slipping. Pins seem to be increasingly leading me to dead end cache links as opposed to the original blog. Sites like these are a double edged sword because they are how I have come across many of my favorite blogs (including yours!), but they can quickly get out of hand. I hope that governments will eventually place stricter laws to protect artists…But until that happens, I wish you the best of luck!

    • Katerina says:

      You nailed the problem. A lot of people are pinning on purpose dead end cache links. Even when they get it from a blog they will open the image in a new window and pin it from there. I am not sure I understand why, in all actuality it takes more effort to go about this way rather than pin from the page you are on. Tumblr I just can't get into at all which is why I don't even have an account. I understand it's a web version of Instagram in many ways but all the regramming just hurts my head. Like I mentioned in my post I use Pinterest as inspiration but most of the times I also want to follow the people behind my favorite photos. Unfortunately as you pointed out sometimes it is impossible and I don't see any other way of fixing this other than constant watermarking which I really dislike. I have also found so many favorite blogs from pinterest and Instagram I really hope things change for the better!

  • Anu says:

    This is really important topic and I have thought about it many times. Like you and previous comments said, it's often really hard to find the original source after finding an inspirational photo from Pinterest or Tumblr. I want to link back to the original source of whatever I share on my blog and usually the majority of time spent on writing a blog post will be spent on tracking the original sources… I wish it was easier! I can't say much regarding to Instagram as I'm quite new there, but as soon as I joined it and started to browsing other's accounts I was really surprised to find out that so many use it for sharing other's photos – I thought that it was only for sharing the original snapshots.

    • Katerina says:

      I am searching my own photos sometimes on google image search and most of the times my blog is not even on the first page let alone the first link. So many regrams and most of the times you just loose track. A lot of people of course link back and I am so grateful for that. It's just that it only takes one person to break the link and then the whole chain is lost. Watermarking probably is the only way to protect ourselves. Also about Instagram, I think you have also noticed how the accounts that have all the inspirational photos usually have way more followers than the people they get their photos from? At least a lot of them credit back 🙂

    • Anu says:

      Yes, I have noticed that tendency in Instagram. I think it's because regraming and posting inspirational photos found from internet is much easier and takes less time, so that these accounts provide more fresh content every day and get noticed more. Anyway, I have decided to keep my Instagram for my own photos and not duplicate it with Pinterest or my blog (although I don't post often on Instagram and maybe don't get followers either … )

  • Flor from Nordic Days Blog says:

    Great article! I've had the same happen to me on Pinterest several times, when people would pin images of my home claiming it was in fact THEIR home! Strange people 😉 I might start doing the same!

    • Katerina says:

      Wow, I haven't noticed that yet. Honestly I don't like watermarking but I don't see any way around it. It's really a shame. I am shocked to see people stealing photos without any remorse even, like it's something so natural and it doesn't really mean anything because we are bloggers I guess. Using them as inspiration is one thing, not knowing where they came from another but it's quite a whole other thing to outright claim our photos for theirs. Not much we can do though, watermarking is a start even if we hate it!

Leave a Reply

Only Deco Love
Design by Blog Milk