I've been thinking lately about art history, especially engravings, woodcuts and prints, ext. When an artist made an engraving he or she would sign all the prints to mark them as authentic. That way in the future someone couldn't just come along, get their hands on the engraving and start making more prints and selling them. Everyone knew that the authentic ones were signed.
Should we start doing this with our digital prints? I don't know any digital artist would make good prints of their digital work, signs them so that in the future people know which are authentic and which aren't. I'm just trying to this historically, digital art is a new thing and with the internet anyone can find an image and make a print of it. So say in a hundred years or so, our generation, the first generation to really make digital art it's own art form, we'll all be dead but our art wont be. I think it would be cool to leave behind signed digital prints so that future generations can look at them and know they were the original ones made by the artist. Maybe they'll even end up in museums in a few hundred years.
Just a random idea I had, I think I might start doing it though.
I think signing your art is fine.
But I don't think you'll have to worry about people stealing your art. The best digital works always end up in magazines or published art books. And the little caption off to the right of the image saying "Created by ..." is about the closest to engraving in digital art.
Since any jerk can scan anything they bought, sign it in PS, and call it theirs. But its because we've seen Jason Chan's, Frank Frazetta's, and Craig Mullin's pictures in books and around the web that we don't buy it from Sexyartist900.
My main work domain is (was ?) lithography and well, signing one is not for fear of fake (eck, we got the original, hard to better metal in longevity). It's more about perceived value - if you buy a print you will get a certificate that tell you how many there is in the world, and which one you got. The signature is more a confirmation of this moral contract than anything, so that the artist will not make another run a diminish the value of your possession. (Some artist destroy, or mark the original, personnally I reuse my stone after a run so...)
And well, because entropy is everywhere, most of the time the best print will be at the beginning, just after the artist proof (printer is fresh, plate neat and clean, no excess ink, everything is aligned...).
Digital print do not work like that. It can mimic those process, of course, but well... The perceived value is not the same, even if the work can be of the same quality.