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To be fair, ask webcomics guys and photographers about piracy - they get the worst of it. Big companies that would never dream of encouraging you to pirate videos and songs functionally encourage you to swap images around constantly, stripped and re-watermarked and whatnot.

So yes, I do feel a bit bad for small independant artists who watch the standards bodies work themselves into a fury to protect video and audio content while they have to deal with Google Image Search and 9gag.




Protecting a single image is far more difficult. Video and audio are "protectable" to the extent they are because there is a really low expectation of how they have to work. Start playback, stop playback - that's about it. No one expects to pre-render, use video as a buffer for other things, etc. You can realistically render video direct to the screen via hardware, in a protected path.

Doing the same for still images adds a ton of work for little payoff. And it still doesn't prevent anything. At least in video if the system remains uncracked, it's hard to make a copy. You can't just point a video camera at a screen and get good results.

Whereas for a still image? Pretty easy to reconstruct the exact pixels, 100%.

Anyways, this is doomed entirely. They provide the case of social media sites stripping off metadata. Well guess what, if your DRM is gonna prevent them from modifying the image, it's gonna prevent them from loading the image in the first place. Even if the JPEG folks add it, it has zero chance of going anywhere. You'd need support from the hardware, OS, and on up. (Like video has.)


> At least in video if the system remains uncracked, it's hard to make a copy. You can't just point a video camera at a screen and get good results.

It never was show-stoppingly hard. Push comes to shove, if MAFIAA invents something really good to stop you from copying a file, someone in Shenzhen will make a physical screen recorder that captures subpixels directly off your monitor and turns them back into data.


A video is just a succession of images. An image is a video with only one frame. You could use the exact same system that protects videos to protect an image, by making a video with one frame of very long (infinite) duration.


Which was incidentally a technique used by early blu-ray rippers. (Making a screenshot of each frame.)


I feel bad for them, too. It sucks for them that it is no longer a viable business model to sell non-bespoke art to the public. I'd love to do this for a living. But this is not going to change, no matter how much DRM you attempt to add.

The only things of value in the non-physical world are monopoly, reputation, and customisation.


> I feel bad for them, too. It sucks for them that it is no longer a viable business model to sell non-bespoke art to the public.

I'm not sure this was ever the case in Western society for all but the top 1% of artists in any given time period.


1% is surely far too generous.




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