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Embedded Metadata May Be “Stripped” By Social Media Sites

by Naresh Sarwan on May 5, 2010

In  “Who is Stripping Your Metadata?“, discusses results of a survey carried out by David Riecks and members of the Controlled Vocabulary discussion forum where they discovered that embedded metadata such as IPTC and XMP is routinely stripped out of image files by social media sites like Facebook.  These effectively transform digital images into Orphan Works (i.e. those where the originator cannot be directly identified) and rely solely on the user of the image to attribute them correctly (which is often not the case with social media).

“There is a long standing and growing concern by photographers that social media websites are not preserving metadata in the images that their users upload. Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are hugely popular with millions of users from around the world. Facebook for example has over 400 million users and continues to grow, as does Twitter which had over 75 million users at the beginning of 2010. Social media sites hold vast numbers of images uploaded by their users, but in many cases the image metadata is simply being stripped out rendering these images as ‘orphans’.” [Read More]

Given the challenges to the image and photography industry by Orphan Works legislation such as Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Act (which was subsequently dropped after a concerted campaign) it is vital that intellectual property owners can be assured that embedded metadata will not be removed from photos (and other IP assets).  We have to agree with’s assertion that:

“We consider it to be the equivalent of defacing a painting by removing from it the signature of the artist. Few would disagree that such an action is both morally and legally wrong, regardless of the intent of the perpetrator.” [Read More]

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