The watermark, more than a name, symbol or signature of the artist, is a process underlying copyright. With the mass proliferation of images over the internet (apparently in an uncontrollable unruly manner) the watermark seems to bring means to an artistic form of protection.
Apparently nothing can prevent the copying of images on the net. Even protected software (such as Flash, which prevents copying) can always be bypassed with the print-screen of the page.
But the found ways to curb hacking (with blurred images and watermarks) only remove an essential component to the image: the authenticity.
This brings to the images a second level: more than the status of works of art, watermarks brings virtuality to them.
The watermark explains that what you see is not genuine. And so no longer interesting.
But the watermark can be artistic. The UAVM Virtual Museum presents 11 works of 11 artists who have focused on this issue: Chia (Taiwan), Gianny Sutera (IT), Gruppo Sinestético (IT), Henry Gwiazda (USA), Ida Julsen (Norway), Joseph Jinson (India), Mike Davies (UK), Rui Fonseca (BR), Sarah Boothroyd (Canada), Sebastien Seifert (Spain) and Silvio Cró (PT).