WARNING: Google Says the Watermarks That “Protect” Your Images Can Be Automatically Erased

Many photographers use visible watermarks on the images they post online or license through stock photo agencies as a means of protecting their copyrights and preventing the unauthorized use of their work. Yet in a newly released blog post, researchers at Google say that automated algorithms can erase this protection and provide unfettered access to watermarked images.

Google presented the information in a research paper at the recent 2017 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Conference in an attempt to disclose the vulnerabilities of watermarks and propose solutions for photographers and stock agencies to better protect copyrighted work.

It’s not unheard of for unscrupulous folks to remove watermarks manually with Photoshop, but this is a painstaking process that’s often extremely difficult to achieve with precision. Of more concern according to Google, are sophisticated automated methods that can quickly remove watermarks with perfection.

You can read Google’s research paper here, and watch a video with more details below.