Auction photographs are easy to copy. Copying is against Ebay's rules and can be reported, Ebay may then remove the offending listing. Ebay's copying policies and report links can be found here;
To deter copying and prove ownership a watermark can be super-imposed on the photo. One way of doing this is to use a program called Picture Shark (version 1.0), this is free and may be downloaded from picture-shark.com. This page describes how to copyright a picture using Picture-Shark.
Ebay update. Ebay have announced some changes to what may be added to photo's, details here;
Watermarks are still permitted for the purpose of ownership attribution but not for marketing purposes.
Ebay's watermark guideline
- Watermarks should be no bigger than 5% of the total image area.
- Watermarks should have an opacity of no more than 50%.
- Watermarks should not obscure the item.
Creating the watermark
A watermark is an image which can be overlayed on a photograph to give proof of identity. This watermark can be based upon the users ebay identity. Here is a method of creating a watermark image using The Gimp photo editor.
Open the photo editor, select File | New. Choose a size suitable for the photos to be watermarked, for example a width of 556 pixels by a height of 256 pixels. Select the Advanced Options menu and ensure that "Fill with" is set to white. Then click ok to create the new image.
Next select Tools | Text and click an area on the left of the image. From the tool options, located in the tool box, select the font (type in the font box) and font size (e.g. 58) as required. Type your ebay user id into the text editor and it will appear in the image.
Angle the text by going to Tools | Transform Tools | Rotate. Drag the text to the desired angle then click on rotate.
Save this; File | Export..., type in file name with extension (e.g. watermark.jpg), select a folder
to store the image and click ok.
Clicking on Export will produce a pop-up window, in this window select Export, in the next pop-up
window set the Quality slider control to at least 85 and Export it. Then close the remaining image,
Note; need to select close without saving in the pop-up window.
Open the image and it should look similar to this;
Open the watermark image with the Gimp photo editor, select Filters | Distorts | Emboss. In the pop up window, ensure that Emboss is selected and then use the slider controls to produce the required effect, this can be viewed in the preview pane. Click ok.
To save the image go to File and select overwrite****.jpg. Then close the remaining image, Note; need to select close without saving in the pop-up window.
The newly created watermark should look similar to this;
When the watermark image is applied to a photo using the Picture-Shark it will appear as shown below.
Using the Picture-Shark
Download and install the Picture-Shark. Create a folder called Output_Shark, this will be used for storing the newly watermarked photos.
Input Selection window
In the left column select the file where the photos
are stored, a list of photos will appear in the centre column. Highlight the ones to be watermarked.
At the bottom of the screen are buttons for adding or removing selected photos, click add sel.
All photos in the selected files column will be watermarked.
Positioning + Settings window
Click on Open Stamp and find the watermark image, when selected the image will appear on the left. Tick the use transparence box and from the watermark image select the grey background colour.
The three slider controls set the appearance of the watermark.
Click on open sample and find an image to be watermarked. This will appear in the bottom left corner. At the top right there is a positioning control which will position the watermark in the photo.
Output Selection window
In the left column select the Output_Shark folder. On the right set the output quality to about 82%. Click start and a list of watermarked images will appear in the right hand column. Sometimes an error message may occur, this can happen when there is an image with the same name in the output folder.
Learning how to watermark a photo will take some patience and practice. However once learnt watermarking the auction photos will become quick and routine.