Metadata Practices Survey

Posted on 2/7/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Lamark is doing a survey on metadata practices to determine what photographer are doing to try to protect their images from unauthorized use. I urge all photographers to complete this short survey. This data will help Lamark devise better and easier to use systems that insure that photographers will be properly paid when their images are used.

The results of the survey will help Lamark to better educate photographers on the available options for protecting images and which might produce the best results in certain situations.

Today, it is virtually impossible to prevent your images from eventually appearing on the Internet. Even if you only deliver prints to customers there is a good chance the customer will eventually post a digital copy of the image on his own Internet site. Once that happens someone else may see the image, decide they also want to use it and make a copy of the digital file.

If your goal is to license use of your images, then it is almost mandatory that you place them on the Internet. Given that it will be necessary to put them there in one form or another it is probably best to use some metadata technique to, at least, make sure that a potential user can at find you to ask permission.

Copyright © 2018 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Dale Wilson Posted Feb 7, 2018
    There is simply no way to stop the "right click-download" or screen capture. Even with metadata embedded, it is, again unfortunately, very easy to strip it.

    Again, misinformation, has the vast majority of public thinking they can lift an image from the web, reproduce it on their social media platforms, and be protected under "fair use and DMCA" legislation.

    And then to top matters, we now have lawyers that are having some success defending hos who lifted the image under the guise of "extortion."

    One agency I was represented by insisted all copyrights be registered with the Library of Congress. Only then was it possible to file a civil suit in the courts that made it financially worthwhile to pursue.

    Personally, I don't think any amount of metadata will curtail or restrict the lifting of images. Might make it easier to prove ownership, but only if the SOB that lifted it doesn't know how to strip the metadata which is highly unlikely.

    I believe, in addition to solid metadata and copyright registration, it is in the best interest of freelance photographers to leave the policing to others. I don't know all the details, but I believe only charges a fee if they successfully collect and then a predetermined percentage based on the amount collected. They are a web crawling service, much like Getty's PicScout.

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