HOW TO PROTECT YOUR IMAGES FROM BEING STOLEN.
How can you help protect your boutique’s images from other boutiques or wholesale brands using the image? Use these 7 tips to protect your boutique’s images.
This picture made a wholesale company over a million dollars of business. It was taken by our Boutique Hub member, Ms. Stephanie Phillips Liebel, from Blessings and Butterflies Boutique a few years ago.
The picture went viral and it was used without permission by many boutiques to help sell their boots, and it was also used by other companies to knock off the style and used the same picture to sell their version of the boot.
So let’s take the time to tell you how a situation like this but to also educate you on how to protect your images.
When a brand uses your photo for viral selling of a product, here are some suggestions on how to negotiate & collaborate on that image.
- Ask for a permanent discount from the brand of at least 5% off your future orders.
- Ask for free shipping for the rest of the year.
- Ask for VIP treatment, which includes having your orders put in the front of the line, especially on the item that was pictured that became viral because you are the reason the item is selling!
- See if the brand is willing to pay for future photoshoots and include their merchandise in future shoots.
- Have the brand send merchandise for you to give out to members of your team and especially to help to offset the costs of hiring models. You can now pay them free merchandise!
Here are 7 ways to protect your images from use by other boutiques or websites.
- Take great photos with your own models. The more you build brand recognition with your own models and images, the easier they are to spot and have your customers and friends spot too for a quick takedown. When someone uses your photos, your brand recognition can actually drive new traffic to your site.
- Have a sample cease & desist on hand to send out at will, or your attorney on retainer like the Leagalpreneur membership to do this for you as you notice. Having a page on your website with DMCA notice and statement about your trademarked brand and policy to prosecute all stolen IP.
- This will cost you money, but if you have a great picture that you took, you have the right to how it can be used and distributed. So why not copyright the image. Please be aware that there are some exceptions to copyrights on an image if the picture is taken by an employee. You can read about this here. By registering your picture with the United States Copyright company, it brings you some additional protections that if you end up suing someone over unlawful use will entitle you to claim damages and increase your chances to get your legal expenses covered depending on the judicial jurisdiction that you sue from. To find out more information on how to copyright your picture or to register it, here is the link to begin the process.
- Go “Old School” and use a copyright notice on every picture. Attaching a copyright notice, such as ‘© All Rights Reserved,’ has not been a legal requirement in the United States since 1989. By doing this, it clearly identifies you as the copyright holder, thereby decreasing the likelihood it will be used without authorization. Not everyone knows about this, and please respect this whenever you see it.
- Watermark your image. You can watermark your image by putting your boutique/brand logo on your image. This is not the most secure system because watermarks can become obstacles in the way you show your merchandise, and they can be cropped out. Your merchandise needs to be the focal point of what your selling, not a logo.
- Block Right-Click Functionality. We have all right-clicked a picture that we liked, and there is a way for you to stop your image from being saved by someone doing this. There are plugins to help you from having someone steal your image via a right-click.
- Use an image protecting service. Using a company like Pixy can help you quickly identify which sites are using your images so you can follow up and have them taken down.
At The Boutique Hub, our hope is to further educate our industry on why NOT to use another boutique’s photo. Your investment in your brand is so important and we want to help you protect it!
We hope you loved our article on How to Protect your Boutique’s Images.
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