Just like other forms of counterfeit products, digital artwork can be copied. If the thief obtains the original file he will be able to modify it for his own designs or use it directly upon purchasing a license. As the artist, you want to take steps that will protect your work and prevent others from using it for purposes that can harm you. Here are some of those steps to help you keep your digital art protected.
1. Try NFTs.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are cryptographic objects that are used to “digitalize” properties like artworks, music, or 3D models, making them easier to trade online. When converting your digital art into an NFT, you are basically putting absolute ownership on your work. This allows you to have the original work (despite other users replicating them in a variety of ways online) and to retain ownership should you decide to sell the artwork. There are professional NFT consulting services available to help you with this task.
2. Make copies of originals.
If you do not want to go through the process of converting your work into an NFT, then making copies of the original will be a good way for you to protect your digital art from being duplicated or stolen. This practice allows you to have a backup of all your work and ensures that it will be safe in case anything happens to the original file.
3. Use copyright claims.
When uploading digital art files, always add copyright information to them. This way when people try to upload your file without permission, it will be easier for you to make claims and get the infringing copies taken down. Also, as a creator, you should know that it is your responsibility to indicate the license type attached to your work. This means you can let others know if they cannot use your artworks commercially, or if there are other things they cannot do with them.
4. Create an image with a unique style that is recognizable by your clients and customers.
Another way for you to protect your digital artwork is by making an easily-identifiable image. This way, if another person decides to use the same file, they are more likely to get caught because their work will have a different style or quality compared to yours. Of course, this cannot apply to every work that you will create but it is an effective way to keep ownership of your digital works.
5. Make use of watermarks
There are times when people try to crop out the watermarks on your artwork. In this case, it will be helpful to add a watermark that is difficult to crop out without anyone noticing. This can either be a pattern or text at the corner of your work. Also, adding another layer could help in disguising the watermark further from view should someone try to erase it from your artwork.
6. Use the right settings for your files.
When uploading your digital artwork to a file-sharing site, you have the option to set the resolution of your work. Artworks with higher resolutions are harder to alter or crop out because it will be difficult to recreate the details in high quality. Low-resolution images, on the other hand, can also be useful as they will allow you to distribute your work without people using them (as they are low-quality graphics and do not look good anyway). As much as possible, upload footprints that will allow you to track down your work on picture-sharing sites.
7. Keep track of your digital works by using hashes or unique titles.
The simplest way for you to track the origins of your work is by generating unique hash IDs on them. If anyone tries to alter your files after it has been distributed, the new hash ID will not match the one you have on file. This way, it will be easier for you to know which copies are yours and which ones were distributed without your consent. You can also manually add unique titles to files by adding short but specific keywords that no one else would think of using. When uploading works with different themes or styles, use a suitable title that would allow you to tell them apart.
8. Keep your artwork private
By keeping your work private, it means no one will be able to see or download the file without permission from the owner. This way, even if people search for and find your work online, they cannot use it unless they get consent from you first. If you do not want to upload your work to a file-sharing site, then this is the best way for you to prevent them from being used by other people.