18 February 2012

Is your image metadata safe on social media websites?

As an artist/photographer you want to make sure people respect your copyright. To this end, it helps if you apply copyright information to the metadata of your published work. While this of course does not stop unauthorised use of your work, it at least makes it traceable.

As it turns out, however, many popular social media websites we use to publish our work, strip the (copyright) metadata from the uploaded images. This is quite bad as this basically renders your work into an "orphan work".

The preliminary results from the on-line survey by Controlled Vocabulary seem to indicate many popular social media websites strip your metadata completely (e.g., Facebook, Wordpress) or at least make it hard to retain the information (e.g., Twitter and related services). And even when websites preserve your metadata, their Terms of Use may actually give them full rights on your images (e.g., Photobucket), which may actually be worse than just stripping the copyright from the photo…

So all in all, if you are an artist/photographer you should pay attention to where (and how) you publish your work to social media websites.


  1. There are so many misconceptions about photography copyright. This post is extremely help in learning new things.

    1. Copyright and photography are indeed things that aren't always understood. For instance, there's currently a huge discussion on the copyright violations of the new on-line service “pinterest.”

      While in itself this service actually has potential, also to the benefit of photographers, the way they treat (or actually mistreat) copyrighted material, actually makes it more of a threat to us…


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