Protecting images vol. 2

I guess I was too long winded on this subject the first time, as it
was ignored. Please pardon that. It is subject matter sufficient for
a large book but I'll try to make it short and to the point, this

Short version:

Never give a client a sample he can steal without first collecting a
big enough deposit to make it unprofitable for him to do so, and
never even start work you can't afford to waste without such a


There is no way you are going to keep a dishonest client from
stealing your work and your ideas, except by making him pay up front,
sufficient money or other valuable coin, to make it unprofitable for
him to do so. Thievery is the profession of thieves. They study it.
They invent new ways. They make high art of it. Technology doesn't
stop them any more than a new armor plate stops artillery. The
artillery makers just make bigger cannon. Since dishonesty is very
common, even, and maybe especially, among large companies, making it
unprofitable is the only way that works.

If a client won't put a deposit on the table, it is a sign that he
has problems you don't need, be they financial, ethical, or both, and
you'll probably regret it if you don't heed that warning, no matter
how plausible the explanation. Con artists are masters at plausible
explanations. Some of them work for big and apparently reputable
companies. Honest people and honest companies don't mind giving you
assurance by paying a deposit, unless it puts a strain on their
finances, and if it puts a strain on their finances, they may have
trouble paying you anyway. Con artists will screw you, even when they
don't derive monetary profit from it, just to mark up another score,
but they usually go for both the score and the money. Even your "best
friends" will screw you now and then, when they have to choose
between your welfare and their own. It is an enlightening thing to
watch, if the price doesn't hurt too much. But despite the
educational value, if you can't afford it, or just don't like getting
screwed, pay attention. If you are already worried about it, enough
to have asked about ways to defend your ideas, that could be a sign
that you have already noticed some warning you should heed.

Some things, like a photograph of a person or a product, can be
protected with a watermark or by somehow making it unusable for
anything more than a proof. Ideas cannot be so protected. Even
copyrights and patents are only worth as much as you have money to
hire lawyers to defend them.

I say this, not from excess of cynicism, but from abundance of experience.