IPTC Study Shows Some Social Networks Remove Rights Information From Photos
LONDON, March 12, 2013
LONDON, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Digital cameras capture a lot of information beside images, including picture
dimensions, pixel count or date stamp. And even basic photo editing software
allows photographers to embed copyright information and other data. But you
wouldn't know that from looking at pictures on many social media sites or
after downloading them. According to a study by the International Press
Telecommunications Council (IPTC), major social networks like Facebook,
Twitter or Flickr remove copyright information and other useful embedded data
from pictures posted by their users.
"A social networking site is only as good as the information its members
choose to share. If users provide rights data and descriptions within their
images, these data shouldn't be removed without their knowledge", said Michael
Steidl, Managing Director of the IPTC, a consortium of the world's major news
agencies, news publishers and news industry vendors.
Every day, more and more photos are shared over social media. IPTC was
approached by users who discovered that when they shared photos, their
embedded metadata disappeared. Earlier this month, the IPTC Photo Metadata
Working Group tested 15 social media sites to understand how image sharing,
through upload and download, affects the integrity of embedded metadata as
defined by IPTC standards and the Exif standard. The results are available at
While Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr remove embedded information like copyright
notes, the name of the creator, the description and more, the results show
that other social networks like Google+ or Tumblr protect photographers' data
"Professional photographers work hard to get specific information -- like
captions, copyright and contact information -- embedded into their image
files, therefore it's often a shock when they learn that the social media
system they chose has removed the information without any warning to them",
said David Riecks of ControlledVocabulary.com, a member of the IPTC test team.
He also noted that, "since some countries are in the midst of passing 'Orphan
Works' laws, any files that are 'stripped' may be considered potential
'orphans' without having any copyright protection."
"Our metadata format has been used for almost 20 years, therefore we think it
is no problem to process it properly", said Steidl. "Required software is
IPTC metadata values were defined in the early 1990s and can be freely used by
anyone. Virtually all photo management software supports them. They are
embedded into image files to tie key information about the image, such as the
photographer's name, and the photo's date and location, to the photo itself.
They let users of the image know where it came from and who owns the
The IPTC, based in London, is a consortium of the world's major news agencies,
news publishers and news industry vendors. It develops and maintains technical
standards for improved news exchange that are used by virtually every major
news organisation in the world. Its standards include the Photo Metadata
standards IPTC Core and Extension, the rights expression language RightsML,
the news exchange formats NewsML-G2, SportsML-G2, NITF, rNews, and the IPTC
NewsCodes. Visit the web site http://www.iptc.org or follow @IPTC on Twitter.
Media contact:Michael Steidl, IPTC Managing director Phone: +44(20)3178-4922
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