I think all the major arguments pro and contra watermarks have been made already, so it seems to me that unless there's someone with a really new argument (or an amazingly clear way of explaining a difficult old one), everyone should be able to make up his or her mind based on what's already been said... not that I want to deny you guys the "right" and / or pleasure of slugging it out here on the interwebz, but if the arguments don't really contain anything new, it becomes a bit boring for most readers - and I'm one of those people who just can't ignore the hope of finding a new argument added to the discussion, so I keep reading any new posts almost compulsively!
It has already been said that we ALL agree that watermarks are ugly. Belabouring that they are ugly [and I did say butt ugly] is pointless and repeated links to other people's opinions are just that, other people's opinions. Those people are no more important than any one of we are. Each person is entitled to their own opinion. Dan summed it up succinctly when he said that it was a symptom of a much greater problem, theft. That was page 3 post number 23 and while a few professional photographers tried to add to that explaining how theft impacts their business and other non-proessionals showed us their images that have been stolen too-- the fact has not changed. Until our wonderful fellow man stops stealing what isn't his, until he stops feeling that he is entitled to take what others have worked to create-- photographers will have to protect what is theirs. I am in agreement with barthjeej, I think we're done here. At least I am
Well heck. As it turns out, watermarks do have some practical value. It could get you some additional moolah in the case of a court case. The fines start at $2500 and go to $25,000 in addition to attorneys' fees and any damages for removing the copyright mark. Blog post about it highlighting the particular portion on the law - Photo Attorney: Watermarks Can Be Music To Your Ears Still doesn't stop it from making pictures butt ugly though.
Boid had added this link after I posted so to be fair I went back to include it as reinforcement for watermarking. [See my response to him below] I want to give him credit and in this case for being unbiased in contributing a link to the 'enemy' side and I am glad he found a counter argument to keep him thinking.