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PicMarker watermarks, keeps your photos safe from evildoers

Keep ditial photos safe(er) online with PicMarker, a free watermarking service.

The correct attribution for online photos is a touchy subject. People like to snazz up all sorts of things with photos they find on the Internet, and hunting down who owns the picture isn't always the easiest thing if it's been passed around without the proper credit. In December of last year, the video "Here Comes Another Bubble" caused a stir when video creators The Richter Scales were found using other people's photos without any kind of attribution whatsoever. The snafu sparked an online debate about digital media rights, and the fallout was substantial. The bottom line is that people who take photos for a living want a sense of control, while publishers need an easy way to find out what they can do with a photo they find online.

Maybe one of the simpler ways to keep your photos and videos moderately safe from incorrect attribution is watermarking. I'm sure you've all seen it before, but if not, it's basically layering on a semitransparent line of text, or image over a spot in a photo. Some folks put it in a corner, and if they're really worried, will place it all over the photo. A new service called PicMarker has set up shop to help people accomplish such a task, although instead of having to rely on a desktop software application, people can watermark up to 10 shots at a time right in their browsers.

With PicMarker you can create a wide variety of watermarks for your digital photos without having to mess with any software apps. CNET Networks

Getting photos from the original to one with a watermark is a fairly simple three-step process. Either grab the photos five at a time from your hard drive, or link up with your Flickr account to pull up to 10 at a time from any of your sets. You can choose from a text watermark to put in any quadrant of the photo, or step it up to an image that you upload from your hard drive. Each watermark can be tweaked by text color and opacity, along with a live preview that shows up on a sample image to the right. When you're done, you have the option to save them locally, or resend them to the Flickr account as new shots, or replacements for the old ones.

While the app lacks some visual finesse (Google Ads are all over the place) it's dead simple to use, and handles image watermarks with ease as long as the image watermark is sized to match the photo resolution. Ideally I'd like to see some sort of on-the-fly resizer to handle photos of varying resolutions, but it's a good start. I can't honestly say I like seeing a lot of shots with excessive watermarks, but PicMarker manages to do a solid job for folks who want to give their shots one level of protection without having to do it to photos one at a time in an expensive desktop editor.