Another strategy I ran across for impeding copying is to photograph the piece of art framed, such as this piece of mine, entitled "Chasing Pirates":
©2010-2011 Pati Springmeyer all rights reserved
The general idea is that the frame makes the image less fungible for copying purposes. I am not so sure I agree with that, for several reasons, but even if so, it's not really a comprehensive strategy because it is:
- far too expensive for the artist to frame every piece, and the price of the piece would have to be increased to cover that cost; and
- it impedes the marketability of the framed art pieces because most often the buyers want to make their own framing choices.
So, suppose we take the completely opposite tack and actually enable copying and enlist the flichers as our agents to spread our fame, or at least our links, throughout the web? Isn't that more like what using the web is supposed to be about? And more like what Denise and others want us to do to generate search engine interest and attention?
What, am I crazy?
I admit the idea isn't equally suitable to all creators of artistic content. One of the comments on my prior post, for example, was from a wood carver who could never display his designs on the internet because the sale of the design itself is one of the ways he makes money - and someone could simply copy his design by copying the image instead of purchasing it, thus robbing him of the revenue.
The same is true in a different way for photographer. The image on the blog or website (resolution and quality issues aside for the moment) is likely the actual product or content that he or she sells to make money.
But for a fine artist like me, it's a completely different story. I want someone to buy the tangible painting that is sitting in my studio. The image on the Internet isn't the "thing" - it's a representation of the thing. Maybe I really want that representation spread far and wide so that buyers will come to me to buy the real thing.
Maybe I can use the representation and the flichers who flich it as active marketing agents to drive traffic to my blog and my Etsy store where someone will pay to own the painting.
Ok, enough with the maybes. How? And more important, why?
I ran across a service from a company named Tynt (no affilate relationship by the way) which has built its entire business model on the general idea I introduced above. Its kind of a jujitsu approach - turning what you think is hurting you into something that helps you. I was, and remain, enamoured, as you can tell. Tynt tells us that copying is far and away the most prevalent mode of sharing content:
Most people think that the most popular way to share content is via Twitter, Facebook or any of the other sharing tools.But the truth is, email is still the easiest and most common way to share content– and most readers simply copy the content they intend to promote or preserve. How often does this happen?
A lot ...
For every user who clicks a “share this” button, 50 users are sharing by copy and paste.
In fact, your content is likely copied far more than you realize. Depending on the site, up to 6% of page loads results in a user copying content. How do we know this? Tynt’s patent pending technology is currently running on hundreds of thousands of web sites and monitors billions of page loads per month."
Tynt continues on to tell us their analysis of why people copy:
"Why Do People Copy?
We’ve learned there are 3 main reasons people copy content: to preserve it, promote it or to search for more information.
Promote:The many social tools attached to the footer of articles are evidence that the category of promotion is big business. But by ignoring copy/paste as the original and largest content promotion tool, you are dismissing the behavior of 86% of internet users. We at Tynt see copy/paste as sharing for the masses. Now each time a user promotes your content by email, or posting to another site, you benefit!
Up to 6% of page loads result in a user copying content. On a site with 20 million page views per month, content leaves the site about a million times per month. That’s a lot.
Preserve: What other share tools don’t tell us is that people copy content all the time to preserve it for themselves.
Imagine you are planning a bike trip to Paris – on Frommers.com you copy info to plan a route and choose hotels. Tynt Publisher Tools can tell which hotels of a list of 10 are copied the most. This is important information to share with your advertisers!
Search: By analyzing copy and paste behavior, we know that “short copies” signal search intent and are a red flag that users are about to leave the site. In practice, a user copies a name or short phrase and pastes into a search engine, which triggers them to abandon the original site in favor of search results. In this instant, your site loses a unique visitor and forgoes any revenue associated with search."
So how do you do the jujuitsu? How do you and Tynt turn the flicher into your traveling backlink promoter? Each pasted copy will have a URL linkback appended to it, so that when its pasted, a short message appears below the pasted content: "Read more: [your URL hotlink to the page where the content was copied from is inserted here]." And it works on whatever is copied - text or images.
Here is a comment on this idea, and an example, from hotshot Zachary Stewart at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard:
"For users, [the] functionality is apparent when you copy and paste any significant chunk of text from a website that’s using the service. For instance, today Politico reports:
With his mashup of news, music and video called “Auto-Tune the News,” Michael Gregory is taking political satire into the digital era.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0709/25578.html#ixzz0MkCZy1hp
That link isn’t my doing, and it’s certainly not in Politico’s story. It’s the handiwork of Tracer [the software used by Tynt], which quietly inserted itself between the article and my attempt to copy it. The code that’s appended to the end of the link, if I choose to preserve it, enables the tracking of copied text and any referral traffic it may produce. You can imagine why that would appeal to publishers, and though Tracer only launched on March 1, clients already include Politico, the New York Daily News, Hearst Corp., Time Inc., The Wall Street Journal, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette."
Click here to his full blog entry: Measuring Reader Engagement By How Often They Copy and Paste.
You can test it on any of those news sites mentioned and now many others, or go to my blog, right click to copy one of the images of my art, and then paste it into an email or anywhere. Voila! You made me a backlink! The Google borg will notice...
Is that great or what?
Now, of course its not completely automatic - a user still has to click on the link to go back to your site or blog. And its possible for the user to actively delete the link once the content is pasted - its not as hardwired as a watermark would be. But we are spreading the web of backlinks with someone else doing the work.
You get an email report from Tynt at a frequency you choose, and Tynt tells you how many times something was copied and left your site//blog. Here is a copy of what an email report looks like (from a blog not mine):
If you want to try it, go get a free Tynt account and tell me what you think.
About the Author:
Pati Springmeyer is a realism fine art oil painter living and working in Las Vegas, Nevada. She posts images of her paintings on her blog "Original Oil Paintings by Pati, Almost Daily", her Facebook Business Page "Original Oil Paintings by Pati, Almost Daily", and sells her work directly on Etsy.
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