5 Ways to Protect Your OpenCart Product Images From Theft

You might not think about people stealing your images every day. Sadly, the fact is that 64% of photographers have experienced image theft at least once last year.

Yes, it does happen often and no wonder - stealing an image takes exactly three clicks.

This can be a serious problem for E-Commerce stores, and especially the ones who create their own product photography and do all the visuals and images in their websites by themselves. Basically, it’s all their intellectual property.

In this post, we will show you a few ways you can protect your E-Commerce images from theft, or at least make it harder for infringers to steal them.

1. Copyright Notice

The simplest way to protect your images from theft is to establish copyright over them. If your product images are your own, or you have created all the banners, blog images and other visual materials on your site, it means you have copyright over them.

The way to establish that is by using the copyright symbol ( © ), which is most often found in the footer of websites. By default, it means that all the materials on the website are under your copyright.

The copyright symbol should be accompanied by your brand name, your own name, or whoever created the images.

Finally, the year that the materials have been created. So it should look like this:

This comes by default in OpenCart. When you setup your store name, it will automatically appear next to the copyright symbol in the footer.

2. Prevent Hotlinking

Imagine that another site is displaying your image by linking to it, instead of using the file instead. This way, you are still hosting the image, while the other site is displaying it.

This is what hotlinking is about. You are paying for the bandwidth and hosting of the image that someone else is using.

To prevent this from happening, you need to access your .htaccess file. (See how to find the file here)

Open the file and paste this piece of code inside:

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$

RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.com [NC]

RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ https://isenselabs.com/img/uploads/hotlinks_6f9d83ffce.png [NC,R,L]

The URL at the end will redirect to an image, which will appear when someone attempts hotlinking to your images.

IMPORTANT: Make sure this image is not hotlink protected (located on your server) or your server can go into an infinite loop.

3. Disable Right-Clicking on Your Site

Disabling the right-click on your site is not the best solution against image or copy theft, but it can help prevent most regular users from doing it.

This can be implemented easily in OpenCart with a simple OCMOD. There is a free extension on the OpenCart marketplace that can add this functionality to your store - Disable Right Click.

4. Embed Metadata for Photos

If your OpenCart store uses photos that you have taken, there are a few ways you can insert metadata for additional copyright protection. This is data that is embedded in the image file.

There are a few ways you can add metadata to your product or blog photos:

  • EXIF Metadata: Your camera can be set to take photos by capturing metadata such as date or the owner’s name.

  • IPTC Metadata: This type of metadata can be added in the editing stage using the post-production software of your choice (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc).

  • Tag Metadata: The tag metadata can be added by simply right-clicking on the file and viewing the Properties on PC, or Get Info on Mac.

5. Watermarking

One of the safest ways to protect your images from theft is watermarking them. This is especially important for E-Commerce stores with images that have monetary value.

Watermarking works great on two major levels - image theft protection as well as raising brand awareness by showing your company identity on every image. So in case someone shares some of your products or images, people will know it belongs to you.

Watermarking in OpenCart

Once your product images are watermarked properly, it will be impossible for someone to attempt to steal them because of the copyright ownership proof.


Remember that the watermark should be consistent across all images in terms of:

  • Image / Text
  • Size
  • Color
  • Opacity
  • Position
  • Rotation

This means you should not assign one watermark to some products and another one to other products.

That’s why you will need to create a watermark image or text that will fit properly on all your product images.

These examples are created using an OpenCart extension called WaterMark. It’s a simple tool that lets you upload an image or use text for your watermark.

WaterMark Settings

Let’s give WaterMark a quick overview of the settings. You can setup a watermark for your products in just a couple of minutes.

Type of Watermark

First of all, choose the type of watermark you will be using - Image or Text.

You can upload .png and .jpg images with a maximum size of 250 MB.

The alternative is to define the text you want to use as a watermark and give it a font, size and color.

Displaying the Watermark

Choose whether all products & categories will display the watermark or just the selected ones.

Position, Rotation, Opacity

WaterMark allows flexible positioning with 9 different spots where you can place your image or text. You can try them all out and choose the one you like the most.

The rotation field lets you adjust the watermark angle using degrees.

Image opacity can be adjusted from 0 to 100%. If you are using a transparent PNG, you can select the Use image opacity option so the watermark looks better.

Be on the Lookout

If you want to prevent copyright infringement, you need to be vigilant even though you have taken all the precautions for protecting your intellectual property. Don’t let your effort for creating product images go to waste by letting them be stolen and used for different purposes by infringers. The tips we gave in this post will act as obstacles for people to steal your content by establishing your copyright over it.


Test WaterMark Here!

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