Quote: Originally Posted by Lee
The idea of a picture being pirated is a stretch. If you post a picture on the web without a watermark then in a sense it becomes public domain; thus it is open to the public.
Actually, that's a common misconception, and isn't the case at all. I thought the same thing until I looked into internet copyright laws. They are actually more strict than many people think. I owned a website that did coding, and graphics for ProBoards [a message board community] so I was forced to familiarize myself with GFX copyright laws. One of the real safeguards for the artist is to retain an original copy of their work in the software format of the program they used to create the image. For instance, if you save a Paint Shop Pro, or PhotoShop image in their native extension [.psp or .ps] it will have all the layers still in it. When it's converted to .gif, .jpg, or .png for instance, it's only a single layer image. This can be used to prove your the original creator. The original creator of an image does indeed reserve the right to refuse to allow you to use the image on the internet, and is protected by international copyright law.
Let's not forget that graphic artists should have the right to protect their creations just as much as software creators. A lot of hard work can go into making an image. Believe me.
My general rule of thumb is to simply ask the GFX designer if you can use the image. More often than not, they are flattered that you asked, and consent.