Laurel A Calsoni

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Many Social Media Sites Still Remove Image Rights Information From Photos

IPTC Releases Results of 2016 Social Media Sites Photo Metadata Test

Important image metadata is not retained in images after upload to some of the most popular social media sites, according to a study by the International Press Telecommunications Council (IPTC).  The missing data includes key copyright and identification information as well as descriptive data about the image.

The IPTC, a consortium of over 50 news agencies and media companies, sets international technical standards for news exchange, including metadata embedded in image files. The recent Social Media Sites Photo Metadata Test repeats a survey in 2013; while improvements are noted, some sites scored lower this time around.

The Social Media Sites Photo Metadata Test evaluated 15 top social media sites, and checked if embedded metadata was retained and displayed on upload to the sites or downloads of various version of the image. The results are displayed at

Only one social media site, Behance, received favorable results for retaining and displaying embedded data. A few systems retained embedded metadata but failed to use it when displaying metadata on the web site. Ten sites removed at least some metadata when images were downloaded to a desktop environment.

“There are many important reasons to embed and preserve metadata – to protect copyrights, ensure proper licensing, track image use, smooth workflow, and make them searchable on- or offline,” said Michael Steidl, Managing Director of IPTC. “If users provide captions, dates, a copyright notice and the creator within their images, that data shouldn’t be removed when sharing them on social media websites without their knowledge.”

There may be several reasons social media services remove metadata – and some may not be intentional. Test results showed that in some cases, when images were downloaded to a desktop environment, the metadata was preserved if the size of the image remained unchanged. But if the image was rescaled, the metadata was stripped. “The quality assurance of these sites might not be aware that their software strips metadata inadvertently,” said Steidl.

“Because many of the social media sites are essentially free, users become the product, and not necessarily the customers,” said David Riecks, a photographer and metadata consultant who owns and worked on the test. “Users are often not aware of these practices. There should be a sweet spot between these social sites preserving all metadata and removing it all. I’d like to see more engineers working together to find solutions.”

The Embedded Metadata Manifesto was launched by IPTC in 2011 to draw attention to the importance of retaining important data embedded in image files. The website, also includes Embedded Metadata Manifesto’s five guidelines for how metadata should be handled and preserved in digital media.

About IPTC: The IPTC, based in London, brings together the world’s leading news agencies, publishers and industry vendors. It develops and promotes efficient technical standards to improve the management and exchange of information between content providers, intermediaries and consumers. The standards enable easy, cost-effective and rapid innovation and include the Photo Metadata standard, the news exchange formats NewsML-G2, SportsML-G2 and NITF, rNews for marking up online news, the rights expression language RightsML, and NewsCodes taxonomies for categorizing news. Visit  and follow on Twitter: @IPTC

Contact: Michael Steidl, Managing Director,, +44 (20) 3178 4922
David Riecks, photographer and metadata consultant,, +1 (217) 689-1376

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 2:35 pm  

Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Modern Musicians Should Care About Metadata
By Bill Wilson, VP Digital Strategy & Business Development
NARM and
April 25, 2013

Metadata. It’s a jargon-y word that probably turns a lot of artists off at the mere mention of it. It’s also one of the main things standing between them and a variety of new opportunities to make money. And those new opportunities are becoming increasingly important for cash-strapped musicians.

As time marches on, today’s artists are finding that sales of their recordings are making up less of their overall revenue picture. Of course, recordings will always be crucial to musicians for a variety of reasons, but as that slice of the revenue pie gets smaller, what are artists to do to make up the loss?

The good news is that most musicians have hosts of revenue-generating assets they don’t even know about, but they require proper metadata to thrive. For example, as we shift from a unit-based (download) music economy to an attention-based (subscription) one, artist revenue will depend more and more on long-term engagement as opposed to a one-time sale. That means photos, videos, and news items will become highly monetizable products and services.

But to take full advantage of alternative revenue streams such as these, it’s extremely important that today’s artists understand how to develop and maintain their long-term digital archive, from what information it must contain to how it should be structured. It’s one of the topics we’ll be covering at’s first Music Industry Metadata Summit on May 6-7 during Music Biz 2013. But for those eager to get started right away, here are a few pointers:

Studio Credits and Liner Notes

Who played on your recorded tracks? What was the engineer’s name? The producer? What are their email addresses? What was the name of the studio you used? Collecting this information may seem like drudgery when you’re in the middle of the creative process, but these credits are the breadcrumbs of discovery. Keep a simple Google spreadsheet of ALL of this information. You’ll regret not having it in the future.

Images and Videos

With massive amounts of posters, logos, and photos being taken of artists by both fans and professionals, it’s important that musicians maintain an archive of these images (and videos) that contains not only the photographer’s name but also the date each picture or video was taken and the usage permissions for each one. Artists should also make sure to fill out the “tags” (metadata) for image location and any other info that future fans may want to search by.

Remember, other people’s images are their property. Although they can’t sell them without the artist’s permission, artists can’t do the reverse either. Therefore, musicians must prepare themselves by downloading the highest-res versions of each image to a hard drive, knowing the photographer and their contact info, and being aware of the usage rights.


Artists can gain a wealth of historical information that can be collected and re-deployed (or even sold) in the future by simply subscribing to RSS feeds for their own social media accounts. It’s a huge return for practically zero investment and something every artist can do right now.

This is just a small sampling of the ways that metadata can help artists prepare for the future and increase their income. However, if they continue to tune out every time the concept comes up, they’ll be missing out on all of these new opportunities. Maintaining a proper digital archive is not difficult to do if you’re willing to make it a priority, and as we move forward, musicians will have more and more reasons to do so.

posted by Laurel Calsoni at 3:59 pm  

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