Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Zoo Redux

... but I have various issues with the project, below. Because I didnt get the image, below, from the Zoo. I saw it on the BBC website, nice and clear without a huge copyright logo across it. The zoo itself features images, as above, with a large watermark.

Now, I understand that you dont want pesky people downloading stuff off the Internet and making money selling teatowels or christmas cards of your nice historic photos. But low grade, small jpegs? is there any reason to contaminate them with the ugly copyright mark? Pray tell, what are people going to do with these images? Thats right - maybe feature them on their blogs and publicise the service, like I am doing? (The images are copyright ZSL, by the way).

The ZSL print service is clearly a money-making effort for the Zoo - fair enough, they do important work, and could do with more funding. But I cant feel that they have missed a small trick here. The site concentrates on selling these images as mousemats, fridge magnets, photographs: there is very little metadata describing the who/why/where of the photographs. And branding them in this manner makes them almost unrecognisable, in some cases.

Watermarking digitised images was all the rage 10 years ago, when we didnt know if we could trust those pesky interweb users. Even then it was noted that
Safeguards are nearly always imperfect. The most realistic objective is to make misuse economically unattractive. [link]

But by now we should realise that digitisation is like making wine. Give people a free glass and they may buy the case. Show of your wares (at low res), and provide contextual information. They may leave with the mousemat. Treating people as if they are about to hack into the site and steal the images (who, me?) isnt the way forward.

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