© http://people.csail.mit.edu/jaffer/Docupage/copyright!.html


Current Version Released Terms
1.25 2007-12-29 GPL

The copyright! program masks a portion of the image with a rectangle containing the copyright text. The mask is opaque, exposing only the pixels overlaid by letter strokes. A random (Gaussian) texture is applied to the mask to foil automated recognition. The font size and mask orientation and colors are controlled by command-line options.

Quick Start


Usage: copyright! [YEAR HOLDER ...] {- | OPTION [ARGUMENT] ...} FILE ...

  -a, --archive=<path/>         move original file to PATH/
  -v, --view                    view branded image
      --view=<program>          view branded image using PROGRAM

  -p, --pointsize=<nn>          size of font; default is 18
  -f, --font=<font-name>
  -c, --color=<color-name>      background color(s) for notice
                                (in left-to-right order)
  -q, --quality=<nn>            image quality between 1 and 100
                                (JPEGs need quality near 100)
  -s, --scale=<nn>              scale image size by <nn>/100

  -t, --top                     put notice at center of top edge
  -l, --left                    put notice at center of left edge
  -r, --right                   put notice at center of right edge
  -b, --bottom                  put notice at center of bottom edge
  -tl, --top-left               put notice at left of top edge
  -lt, --left-top               put notice at top of left edge
  -tr, --top-right              put notice at right of top edge
  -rt, --right-top              put notice at top of right edge
  -bl, --bottom-left            put notice at left of bottom edge
  -lb, --left-bottom            put notice at bottom of left edge
  -br, --bottom-right (default) put notice at right of bottom edge
  -rb, --right-bottom           put notice at bottom of right edge

  Brand image FILE ... with a copyright notice at a corner or along
  an edge; and set FILEs' copyright notice to:

    Copyright YEAR HOLDER

  If YEAR and HOLDER are not supplied, then they are taken from the
  comment field of image FILE.  The YEAR-HOLDER field is delimited by
  an option starting with `-'.  If no options are passed then follow
  YEAR-HOLDER by `-'.

  The color names recognized are from:


$ copyright! 2002 Aubrey Jaffer -v Carp.png

The original image is saved as Carp.png~. Subsequent invocations of convert use Carp.png~ as their source and do not modify it.

Carp image showing default copyright! font and colors

The copyright! program works well on PNG images. But the copyright tag can be blurred on JPEG images.

$ copyright! 2002 Aubrey Jaffer -br Carp.jpg
Carp image showing JPEG smearing of text

Adding the "-q100" option will guarantee sharp lettering at the expense of a larger file size.

What follows are the commands used to generate some of the images in my website. The image name is linked to the copyrighted image.

The default font used by the (ImageMagic) convert program (under X11R6) is narrower than I like for this application. The rest of the examples use a (Helvetica) Bold font which exposes more of the underlying image.

The rest of the examples also use the "-a" option to move (or use) the unmodified image in a directory which is not web-accessible. Leaving the original images in a web-accessible directory allows anyone to download it and claim copyright.

$ copyright! 2001 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/ -lt -q100 \
  -fHelvetica-Bold -cbright-sun -cgolden-fizz 'Blizzard-2001.jpg'
$ copyright! 2002 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/ \
  -f Helvetica-Bold -c grape table.jpg

$ copyright! 2003 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/Color/ \
  -fHelvetica-Bold -c fog -p14 -bl reseneLab2.jpg

$ copyright! 2000 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/ \
  -fHelvetica-Bold -cazure -rt -p14 tackle3.png

The next example views the modified image with the (ImageMagick) display program; the one after that views the image with the xv program.

$ copyright! 2000 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/ -v \
  -fHelvetica-Bold -ccoffee -lt canoe_garage_open.jpg

$ copyright! 2000 Aubrey Jaffer -a ~/private_html/ --view=xv \
  -fHelvetica-Bold -ccoffee -tl -p21 Canoe.jpg

Further Development

Version 1.10 added a scale option; but scaled right or bottom banners are positioned not quite correctly.


The ghostscript-fonts-5.50-3.noarch.rpm distributed with RedHat-7.3 is wedged, lacking all the fonts expected by ImageMagick- To fix this, install ghostscript-fonts-5.50-1 RPM for noarch:

rpm -Uv --oldpackage \


Histocomputability is computation modeled on biological immune function. In this paradigm copyright is the Major Histocompatibility Complex protein presented on the surface of nearly every cell (image file) in an individual organism (publication or website).

By obscuring part of the image, the visible copyright notice added by the copyright! program gives strong statement and evidence of ownership.

Copyright 2002, 2003, 2007 Aubrey Jaffer

I am a guest and not a member of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.  My actions and comments do not reflect in any way on MIT.
agj @ alum.mit.edu
Go Figure!