Photo Attorney

Oct 7, 2008

Why You Should Add Metadata To Your Photos

As previously reported in my July 3, 2007, blog, the DMCA is a powerful tool to fight infringements. With the possible passage of the Orphan Works Act, it's even more important to include your copyright management information.

Copyright management information includes:

(1) The title and other information identifying the work, including the information set forth on a notice of copyright.

. . .

(3) The name of, and other identifying information about, the copyright owner of the work, including the information set forth in a notice of copyright.

. . .

(6) Terms and conditions for use of the work.

(7) Identifying numbers or symbols referring to such information or links to such information. . . .

See 17 USC 1202(c).

You can put your copyright management information in the metadata of your photos or as a watermark (as shown in the bottom left corner of my photo above). See my May 7, 2008, blog to learn how to add metadata to your photos. Sometimes, however, watermarks aren't appropriate.

Unfortunately, it's easy to remove the metadata from your photos. Check my November 20, 2007, blog entry on how it can happen with Photoshop. John Harrington explains in his blog how Yahoo now provides a vehicle to strip your metadata.

But that's not a reason to not include your metadata in your photos! On the contrary, the damages for an infringer who intentionally removes or alters your copyright management information knowing, that it will induce, enable, facilitate, or conceal an infringement start at $2,500 and go to $25,000. That's in addition to the damages for copyright infringement, as well.

While Yahoo's "Smush It" and the Orphan Works Act may hurt photographers, we can employ self-help tools to do a fairly good job in fighting infringers.

Thanks to Walter Rowe and Jackie Shumaker for submitting this topic.