What is Super Zoom?
You’ve probably seen crime shows where the tech guy or gal is trying to use a tiny detail on an image as evidence in a case. If nothing else, you have almost certainly come across jokes about how common that type of scene is by people quoting “Zoom and enhance. Zoom and enhance”. And if you know anything about how zooming in on photos actually works, you’ve rolled your eyes at that scene because that is not how zooming in on a picture works; on a picture, zooming typically doesn’t add any pixels, so the bigger you make the images the grainier and more unfocused it becomes. At least, that used to be the case.
Not too long ago, Adobe announced their latest addition to their line of products: Super Zoom. With this, anyone can live out their “CSI: Miami” dreams by zooming and enhancing to their heart’s content. Super Zoom’s software allows the user to zoom in as much as they like without losing fidelity of the picture. The software can estimate what is where in the picture, and essentially add pixels to the zoom based on those estimates. Effectively, now anyone can take an image and make it as large as they want without worrying about loss of picture fidelity.
“Why do I need to know about this?”
At this point, you are probably thinking “CatchScan, you bold pioneers in the field of protecting online content creators’ copyrights! That is all very interesting, but what has it got to do with you guys or me?”. Well, Super Zoom unfortunately presents a dilemma for people who sell licenses to their pictures. Usually, creators can show their images on a website or an Instagram profile and not worry all too much about the images being stolen for banners or similar real-world advertisements. Of course, the images can be stolen (after all, that is why CatchScan is here to help) but those images are typically of a lower resolution, so if they are used on the side of buildings or for posters, the thief would have to deal the low resolution of the images, preventing them for using it at the desired size. However, with Super Zoom, that issue becomes a worry of the past for our hypothetical criminal! You could upload an image in the size of a stamp and anyone with Photoshop could blow it up to a size where the image can act as a wall installation.
Luckily, no matter how zoomed and enhanced your pictures are, that doesn’t change anything with regards to your copyrights. As the creator (or, in the more exact legal jargon, the “author”) you pretty much hold sole ownership of the rights to alter it. According to fair use laws, someone else can alter your work and publish it, but the alterations made have to be so extensive that the finished product reasonably counts as a brand-new work of art. And Super Zoom? Yeah, that doesn’t count as transformative, not by a long shot.
How to protect yourself from Super Zoom
What does that mean for you as a creator? It means you need to be extra vigilant about illegal use of your copyrighted works, as uploads of even low-pixel images can now be stolen and used. It was already easy to steal images online, and with Super Zoom it is even easier. However, you needn’t worry about what influence Super Zoom has on your rights; you are still the author, you still hold the rights to alteration until such a time that the work is transformed and adding pixels to a zoomed-in photo does not change any of that!
Are you still concerned about your work getting stolen and abused online? Zoom over to our sign-up page and enhance the protection of your copyrights with a free CatchScan subscription!