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Archives & Museum Informatics



Preventing the Misappropriation of Web Images

Alexis Menten, Museum of Modern Art, USA

Session: Demo Session 2

The Museum of Modern Art, due to legal copyright and permissions reasons, is faced with the need to protect the integrity and regulate the appropriation of its artwork images online. To meet this need, the Museum has entered into a multi-phase test cycle for the use of Clever Content, an image encryption software package developed by Alchemedia, on the web site.

We have proceeded through Phase 1 of the testing cycle, which consisted of in-house testing to approve the user interface. The Museum is now in Phase 2, during which we are encrypting part of our site and leading traffic through a development server to determine the effects on daily traffic, ease of use, back-end systems, etc. Phase 3 will encompass installing the software protection on all images on the live site.

About the Product

The Clever Content Server software runs transparently in the background, as it is installed as a filter on a dedicated HTTP web server. Images designated for protection, using the Clever Content Manager, are intercepted, encrypted, and then allowed to continue to the visitor's browser, where they are seen through the Clever Content Viewer.

The Clever Content Viewer is a plug-in that makes it possible to see images designated as protected by the Museum. Site visitors authorize installation of the plug-in just once with a "yes" acceptance in a dialog box. After authorizing installation, they can view any protected image on the site.

Visitors will be able to view the image as usual, yet they will be unable to grab the image. All standard methods for taking images are disabled, including:

Copy, Print, and Save As commands

Print Screen key

Set as desktop wallpaper

Third party screen capture applications

If they choose to not authorize installation, they can be served one of several options that the Museum will determine:

A visual watermark on the image, either tiled, centered, or right, left, top or bottom corner

A replacement image

A replacement message

The image with no protection

The test site on the development server will be shown in this demonstration