IPTC Study Shows Some Social Networks Remove Rights Information from Photos
LONDON, ENGLAND -- (Marketwire) -- 03/15/13 -- 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 better.
"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
tential '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 available."
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 copyright.
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 www.iptc.org or follow @IPTC on Twitter.
Michael Steidl, Managing director
+44 (20) 3178 4922
+44 (20) 7664 7878 (FAX)
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