mountain view - Google Developers have developed an algorithm that can automatically and widely remove watermarks from stockphotos. Developers do not aim to rob photographers of their revenues, but to show that current watermarks are simply too simple.
A watermark often consists of many different objects, such as lines and dots, to make removal as difficult as possible. In practice, it is effective because manually removing a watermark even for professionals is a pretty time consuming job. But it becomes problematic if the same watermark is used on all photos of a particular photographer or a photo agency. Then it only has to be 'cracked' to be able to be removed on a large scale from all the photos. And that's exactly what Google has shown with the algorithm.
Defending yourself against the algorithm is quite simple, says Google. By changing a watermark on each photo a little bit of shape, it becomes impossible for the algorithm to remove the watermarks without leaving visible residues.
The developers have shared their findings in a report. The report is free to download.