Watermarks were originally embedded in paper to identify the manufacturer. Wikipedia tells us
A watermark is an identifying image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light (or when viewed by reflected light, atop a dark background), caused by thickness or density variations in the paper. Watermarks have been used on postage stamps, currency, and other government documents to discourage counterfeiting.
We can place watermarks on photos and documents before placing them on the Internet. Have you posted a photo to Ancestry that you took off the Internet? Did you give credit to your source? Maybe the copyright police will not come down on you but it is a sure way to have a “cousin” lose interest in sharing with you.
After seeing over 90 new “hints” last night on my Ancestry App. I thought I would take a look. Imagine my surprise when I found all my photos from my blog attached to a “cousins” family tree. These photo’s did not just appear once in my “hints ” but three or four times. How do I know they were my photos? Well after 100 years I would be surprised if two photos had creases and fly specks in the same spots. I am conflicted, 1. I want family to share and correspond about genealogy and 2. I want people to read and enjoy my blog. Taking photos off the internet and using in a Family Tree is done all the time. I’m always getting “hints” of a dePutanham Coat of Arms image for any of my ancestors with the Putnam surname. That just clutters up my “hints” and I have to click on each to “ignore” so they will be eliminated.
How can we keep from cluttering the internet and our “hints” on ancestry with images. My solution is that my tree on ancestry is not made public. If a “cousin” asks I will share with them. My next solution is to place a watermark on all my images that I place on my blog or any other place that one of my images might show up.
There are several apps and software that are available to do just that. Photographers who makes their living from selling their prints would most likely invest in a program that would do all their photos from one shoot at a time. Me I just need to do several at a time so I can use one of my photo programs I already have.
So now if you were to save the photo you would know where it came from. As a courtesy always ask to reuse another’s photo or at the very least give credit for your source. Posting a photo without crediting the source is not proper internet etiquette.