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A few weeks back Conspiracy Inc. in Copenhagen tweeted a comment something along the lines of needing to watermark their tattoo pictures. So I responded how it is also nice when tattooers watermark tattoo pictures so as they travel the internet those of us who want to know can know who did the tattoos. I know I often am sent tattoo pictures with no tattooer or tattoo shop information which frustrates me. Or wandering the internet looking for tattoo pictures and see some amazing tattoos but have no way of knowing who did them and/or where. The reason I and I know others want to know who did the tattoos is so we can know who is doing good tattoos and give them the credit they deserve plus the of course enjoyment from looking at great tattoos. Also now with this tattoo forum we want to give the tattooers credit when we stumble across their work and post the photos on the site so others can know as well.

We, LST, often look at other tattoo sites, forums, blogs, etc and see "too many" of them have some pretty bad tattoos posted which equates to, if these tattoos are the majority of what customers see the bar can not be set. Hence one of the reasons we started this tattoo forum so tattoo customers can see there is no need to settle for below par tattoos. This site is to try and give the tattooers credit who intrigue us and in return so they not only get more work but also so tattoo customers can get better tattoos.

So with that tattoo ramble, we start the Tattoo Watermark thread for both tattooers and tattoo customers. To watermark or not? Stories? Etc...............

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i totally agree with you lochlan. it also frustrates me when i see something amazing, with no credit to be found. there are so many tattooers now, and good ones at that. that i think it's only appropriate to use watermarking, at least on the internet that is. i don't enjoy seeing it in books or magazines. i prefer the small description of the artist's name and current where-a-bout's, under the picture.

i also believe you are helping a lot of customers better understand the art and business of tattooing with this LST. as a customer, enthusiast and prospective apprentice, i've already learned a lot more at a quicker pace with the help of this tattoo forum, and i really appreciate it. thanks a lot, you guys have made something great here!

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also, i do think watermarking helps in the ways of marketing yourself out in the world. i think it can ad a level of professionalism and confidence to your name, like i wanna protect my images because they are that good. just a thought...

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good points, i'm just too lazy and post all my pics from my iphone these days, as my camera gathers dust. on a side note, i see a lot of hacks making laughable tattoos watermarking their photos, as if anyone would want to steal them! these are the same guys who write on their websites "DO NOT STEAL OR COPY!" hahaha...and they suck!

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Yes I do believe that watermarking photos of Tattoo artist's artworks is a great idea, It would help people who search images on the internet figure out who exactly did what. The issue would be that how could this be controlled? I don't think that it could. I take photos of the tattoos I have but I don't put a watermark on it to represent the artist. I would not have a clue how to put one on the image. Come to think of it I don't think that I gave info on who did my tattoos in my gallery. . . I will update that later. Maybe on a site like this it could be regulated more and it could help the tattoo collector who is looking at the images whether it be a water mark or a description below the photo.

So really if who ever posts the pictures does not put a watermark or little blurb under the pic then I guess we are SOL. . .

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i watermark mine. i think its a good thing i guess, for me. i also know that i post way too much of my work online, mostly cos i'm still stoked to be doing anything at all.

since i synced a photo posting acc to my twitter ive been well tempted to just do it thru that and have done a couple of times, but i still just leave my blog unattended till i get around to looking at pics in my main camera.

i do find watermarks bang in the middle of a photo, tattoo related or not, rather annoying and way too pushy. sometimes i wonder if i should care less about shit like this and just post my work whenever, however...

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I am working on upgrading the LST 'gallery' feature and one of the options is auto-watermarking if desired. I'm not sure if it could be individualized per forum member, probably just one 'Last Sparrow Tattoo' stamp, but at least that would tie it back to where it was originally posted.

does that seem like something that people would like to see, or no?

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maybe valerie is right. i do think that a watermark in the middle of the picture does lessen the integrity of the image and now that i think about it, it is rather pushy, good call. but i still think it's necessary for the web, unfortunately. if you care about that stuff, i guess...

i like the option for individualized watermarking in the gallery. i think it's a smart idea.

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I am working on upgrading the LST 'gallery' feature and one of the options is auto-watermarking if desired. I'm not sure if it could be individualized per forum member, probably just one 'Last Sparrow Tattoo' stamp, but at least that would tie it back to where it was originally posted.

does that seem like something that people would like to see, or no?

thats sounds pretty cool! i think the artists should have the choice of having a personalized watermark.

when there is a large watermark in the middle of the photo it really does take away from the picture and i almost loose interest in the image because it

makes it more difficult to make out whats in the picture. maybe i have ADD and i get distrated easily.

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I am working on upgrading the LST 'gallery' feature and one of the options is auto-watermarking if desired. I'm not sure if it could be individualized per forum member, probably just one 'Last Sparrow Tattoo' stamp, but at least that would tie it back to where it was originally posted.

does that seem like something that people would like to see, or no?

So I think that Steve's saying that individual watermarks probably aren't an option with the software for the new LST gallery features, although that would be really, really cool. Steve, if the only choice was an LST stamp, would people have a choice to opt in or opt out when posting pics? I could see where some tattooers would want it, at least their tattoos could be traced back to them, but some other people might not want it at all. It also seems like people would like any watermarking to be subtle.

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I don't watermark my photos, if I did it would be subtle. I also don't put a lot of stuff online so I don't think its that big of an issue for me.

Mario made the same point I would have made that most of the stuff I see watermarked is total garbage. That becomes a put off to me watermarking my own work, like somehow it would lump it in with the hack tattoo's I see. That's probably not a sensible way of thinking but I'm ok with that. I've never been much good at promoting myself online.

A watermark to give credit is great, don't get me wrong. Watermarks for "protecting" an image have always just annoyed the hell outa me. Once an image goes online, you lose control of where it will go and how it will be used.

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If you watermark or not I recommend using Digimarc it's a digital watermark that tracks where your images go on the internet and regularly send information to you via email....You can embed it on a photo with or without an insignia or copyright symbol...

It reported back to me where some photos of Richards had been posted and it's how I found this site...

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If you watermark or not I recommend using Digimarc it's a digital watermark that tracks where your images go on the internet and regularly send information to you via email....You can embed it on a photo with or without an insignia or copyright symbol...

It reported back to me where some photos of Richards had been posted and it's how I found this site...

Jennifer, you are very fancy!

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Thanks for all the feedback. It sounds like there may not be a one size fits all solution with watermarking - so I'll do some more investigating to see what we'll be able to provide. Chances are good that we won't find a solution that makes everyone happy with the first release of the new gallery, but we'll keep it on the feature 'wish list' for future.

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So to continue on with the questions, conversations, and dilemmas on tattoo pictures and tattooers, I have been seeing a few places (tattooers blogs, tattoo shop blogs, and other comparable tattoo related web sites) up in arms and/or upset with the state of how others are using their tattoo images. I/we can see the many points of the argument but feel a little confused and no I am not a tattooer so I will use my "profession" as an example which I believe does translate over and the term plagiarism was coined for it in that realm which I believe would translate to tattooers and this topic but look forward to what others have to say.

So the conversation revolves around other sites not those of the original posters of a tattoo picture up in arms and/or upset when other sites post their tattoos. Some say they are upset when no and/or incorrect credit is given while others do not want their tattoo photos posted elsewhere at all. There is no specific term that I could find and/or think of when it comes to picture specific re-usage but here are some related ones; plagiarism, photo plagiarism, and copyrighted. Plagiarism historically has to do with words only then copyrighted is a specific legal action one must take to meet this requirement so a term I saw floating around elsewhere was photo plagiarism and will run with this for the conversation of tattoo pictures. I know I've mentioned in this thread and elsewhere that tattoo pictures are often sent my way and I/we often look at others sites so when I/we find a tattoo, tattooer, and/or tattoo shop I/we like I/we try to post it here on LST forum, ezine, and tattoo gallery. I try to give credit when I can find it but more often than not I/we can not find the tattooers name. It upsets us as we want to give credit where credit is due.

So the next question is, do we not post the images when tattooers can't be credited? This would be unfortunate as there are so many terrible tattoos and tattoo sites out there posting and reposting these awful tattoos to the masses and the good ones go uncredited and/or unseen so people continue to get bad tattoos as this is what they are fed. The gap if you will is not disclosed but kept a secret if we don't post them. So as tattooing continues to grow, shops everywhere, tons of new tattooers, and tattoo web sites pop up feeding this foul version of tattoos to the unknowingly what do we do? Do we sit back and stay silent or take part by trying to properly "educate" on what is a good tattoo and what is not? One of the many hopes we had/have when starting this tattoo forum and ezine was to expose this gap and help tattooers and tattoo collectors get better tattoos out to the public so this gap can be exposed and customers can be better informed. Scott and I were hanging out and talking yesterday about this one site that is rather popular with the unknowingly and customers bring in images from these sites as reference more often than not. This site and many others are making a killing off providing a fast food type service that doesn't meet quality one bit. Fast food in any arena can have quality but the consumer must first see and know quality.

LST was launched not so much to be a fast food for tattooing but an opportunity for a quality site to be put out there thats easier to be obtained by the general public from conversations to interviews to tattoo pictures to try and help expose this gap so what do we do? We have materialized our conversations on this to the tattoo related blogs, forum, gallery, etc that you now see otherwise known as Last Sparrow Tattoo. LST would not be what it is without every one of you so thank you! So as the platform is set we continue to work to grow and provide a better service for all and continue to need your support. For example, our new referral contest is meant to meet the desire expressed by LSTers for more dialogue from forum threads to blogs to pictures so hope you are enjoying yourself with this one and we appreciate all the spreading of the word about LST so this gap can continue to be exposed. Which then leads to one of the next features which is relevant not only to the site but this thread, a new tattoo gallery that we have been hinting at and Steve wrote a post on.

The new feature we hope will provide easier usage for LSTers to post, navigate, share, and comment on pictures. One of the features Steve mentioned in this thread is the ability for LST to watermark images when they are uploaded. We have mixed feelings about this as it sounds many others do as well. We don't want to watermark others images when they post them here as they are not our work but the option is there so if people happen to use images from here the credit can be traced back a little easier and closer to the tattooer. Tattooers and shops upload at insane speeds their tattoo pictures to facebook which mind you has some intense privacy/ownership dilemmas that I often wonder if people know about. This is one of the spots where images are grabbed and shared elsewhere regularly yet people continue to share them yet stay silent elsewhere in other arenas which/where may be more "appropriate" to share. I do not think this is a bad thing but with no watermark how is the tattooer to get credit? Watermarking is a pain in the butt but I know would be appreciated by us so we can give credit when credit is due.

Now to wind back to the usage of others tattoo pictures and what to do.......our purpose is to give credit when credit is due and expose this gap of what tattoo customers should expect when they get tattooed. There is no reason to settle for a half assed and/or bad tattoo. I'm not saying become some entitled customer but rather if you goto a good tattooer and shop you will get a good tattoo. (NOTE: we are working on a new feature for this as well that we are excited about and will announce soon) So how do we get the word out about good tattooers and good tattoo shops if we can't trace credit back to the them? Is watermarking the answer? I/we don't know and am/are up in arms about this as we want to provide a better tattoo site than what is out there. We don't want to do photo plagiarism but want to provide a service.

This has turned into a huge post that was just meant as a jumping off point form what I've seen here and some of our, LST Teams, conversations so I will end there and we look forward to you sharing your thoughts not only here but through out this whole site as Scott mentioned in his latest blog. Silence and negatively are going to do nothing so hope you'll take part with us........

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From the few conversations I've had with the dudes at Smith St. it's more revolved around(though not limited to) random people and their random photoblogs and such. People who take a picture and just post it with all these other random things that have zero to do with the tattoo, the tattooer or really anything. It's a band t-shirt to them. "These are all the things I think are cool, and I want you, the viewer to see me in this image." Which by itself is pretty harmless, but when you think of the scale of how often this happens and what it leads to, well then, yes, that's where the sore spot is. Someone posts a pic, then it gets re-blogged six hundred times, eventually it loses the credit as to who did it, if it even had one in the first place and then ends up on some fashion blog, and then on some t-shirt in a random Etsy account. That's not free advertisement, that's a few hundred selfish people not thinking about what they are doing because the internet is essentially the wild west.

I know people want to show appreciation for others works, and I do too. But there are tactful ways to go about it. How about if someone really wants to bring attention to another artist, ask permission. We text and email all the time. It shouldn't be such a hard thing to do, but for some reason people react horrendously when they have to all of a sudden think and act respectfully when it comes to the interwebz. Like it's a form of slavery or something. Just ask permisson and maybe don't post their whole portfolio. Or even a picture. After all it isn't about you it's about the person you're trying to bring some attention to. Maybe just post one pic, small enough to see and a LINK TO THAT PERSONS WEBSITE. Not hard at all.

But people are harping on the tone of their argument and justifying their actions with sayings like "Come on, get over yourself. This is 2011. It's the internet." First off, I don't know what any of that means, but it just sounds like lip service to me. Sounds like he/she meant to say "Come on, it's been so easy for me to define myself on the internet with pictures and now you're telling me I shouldn't maybe just rifle through peoples stuff as if it were my own and post away without a care in the world? BULLSHIT."

From what I gathered, it isn't necessarily directed towards tattoo oriented forums and the like because those tend to operate with a keen set of morals as to posting of pictures. I mean, this site itself has a thread about giving props to under the radar artists, and many threads on who does what stuff well. That's not really what those dudes are talking about.

It's more like the people who use someone's 50 hour work week as some sort of bragging rights as to what they like. It's weird that people even do that to begin with, never mind being surprised that the person who did work hard to make these images in the first place might not want it treated like a sticker on your Trapper Keeper. It's not even a bad thing that someone wants all the credit for their work. How could it be?

If a plumber fixes your pipes, he would expect all the money and thanks for that job. And deservedly so. It would be shitty if it went instead to neighbor who pulled the plumber's business card down from a cork board at a laundromat on the other side of town, OR the laundromat that had the cork board.

PLaces like this are beneficial to tattooing. What they are bringing attention to are the leeches who are playing it out everyone's hard work with no credit given, without thought to how this could effect us or our craft.

Sorry for the long response, and sorry if it was a bit convoluted.

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i re-posted the smith street blog post on my own site and even though i never close the comments option, i was keen to not delete comments posted with people's thoughts on the issue. well, that stopped pretty quickly. what it developed into is a bunch of un-approved posts that i will be deleting full of shitty attitude from idiots who dont give a crap about tattooing whatsoever, some even got personal throwing insults at myself and steve (boltz).

any negative replies usually were posted by people who didnt even have the balls to leave their real name ( a quick email search on facebook showed who they really were). and the kind of language used would have gotten them a first class ass whopping if uttered in any of our shops.

really, what it comes down to is exactly what the hyena said, way better explained that i ever could, im useless at explaining stuff.

back in the day the only reason to own your own domain name let alone a website was to showcase your creative side or to sell something, you had to put the work in and learn basic html at least, some CSS also and build it yourself. now with tumblr etc any tom dick and harry has a 'stage', it takes two seconds to create one and 2 more seconds to fill it with re-posts of the things you feel define you. i aint looking to stop this cos you simply cant but bringin light to it has certainly sparked a discussion and good on smith street for that.

on the other hand, its sites like LST that are doing good, bringing tattooers together and showcasing good tattoos, discussion and true helpfulness. there's REAL content within created by its own members. keep it up!

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i really want to jump into the conversation, as this is my daily job (yes, the one i posted that i hate), and i can give some advice (granted i'm not a lawyer) on this subject, but i won't have time to post something extensive until tomorrow at best. but there are things that can be done (and should be done) to protect your work and integrity.

oh and blame wikipedia for this. seriously. i wish i was joking, but they are the biggest culprit for hosting images without proper crediting and it kills me!!!

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Just to chime in with my 2 cents - I'm not a huge fan of watermarks but there's an increasing need with the way sites like Tumblr et al are going. At least if there's a watermark then people are aware of who made the image.

As someone mentioned above this especially applies to tattooers and illustrators (like myself).

The people that are totally blasé about this like the people Hyena mentioned, are very very rarely 'creators' - because if they were then they'd realise that the things we work hard to create aren't just worthless pixels on a screen but something that blood, sweat & tears have gone into - so therefore, at the VERY least, should be credited correctly.

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