Protecting Your Art Online

February 13, 2007


Laurence Vannicelli – Milwaukee (Now Protected)

Since we’ve launched, a number of people have voiced concern about protecting the work in their portfolio from theft. Yesterday we implemented a solution that blocks people from easily downloading your work. While it’s impossible to completely stop people from stealing work online, we think this is a good deterrent. So why didn’t we incorporate this protection when we launched Tropist?

Over the last several months, Brendan and I have become deeply entrenched in the world of online distribution. All the success stories have one thing in common: they gave their work away for free (or at least a portion of it). It seems counter-intuitive but hear me out.

Every day there are millions of people vying for attention on the internet. How do you separate yourself? To get attention in an over-crowed world, you have to make it as easy as possible for others to find you. a daily dose of imagery is a great example we’ve already covered. Sam Javanrouh puts up a beautiful high quality photo everyday. He’s branded himself as a great photographer who’s willing to give his work away for free. Why would he do this? Well, Sam sells prints of every photo he posts on his site, but to build and retain his audience he has to give his photos away for free everyday. The same goes for ExplodingDog which we covered here.

In the end, we decided that the best place to build one’s brand is on one’s own site. We don’t want to force others to show their work the way we would show ours. Let us know what you want from your portfolio. How do you want to share your work with the world?

Update: There have been some requests for a watermark tutorial so here’s a good one.

– chris


2 Responses to “Protecting Your Art Online”

  1. Paul Zadie Says:

    This is the same situation that much of the digital media industry is in currently. Digital content providers are battling the masses on a daily basis using inefective tools like DRM. To what end? To prevent piracy? All that is happening is the limitation of the potential audience. The only people who suffer from this kind of action are the artists and their audience. This is magnified when it comes to small, up and coming artists.

    I am a firm believer in giving it away for the exposure. If it is available for sale in a higher quality, the people who would pay for it will pay for it anyway. What’s to lose if the person taking it wasn’t going to pay for it in the first place? Nothing. There’s only one thing to gain. Exposure.

    A nice feature for the portfolios would be the option to offer work as protected, or unprotected. Maybe even in a variety of sizes or resolutions. This way each artist could make the decision as to how to offer their work to those viewing their portfolios on

  2. tropist Says:

    That’s a great idea Paul. That way people get the best of both worlds.

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