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15 Responses to “The Dictatorship of Social Media”

  1. Michael says:

    My feeling is that, on the other hand, social media are losing a source of value by disrespecting metadata though; far from stripping it, they could add a heck of a lot of value to the images they process by adding to, and helping users add to, the metadata attached to them. That might be an easier sell, too.

  2. Rob Wilson says:


    you’ll be pleased to know that we are the case Gwyn

    Guess what embedded IDs preserve and which look up your metadata … more to come but ping me for more info

    Best Rob

  3. PAul says:

    There is, use steganography.
    That’s how the Digimarc® watermarks work.
    Multiple redundant copies of the data embedded in the insignificant bits of the pixels.
    So that editing and resizing doesn’t destroy the ID.
    Of course it’s patented, and costs money to use, but it may save you money eventually.

    Software (like Thumbs+ image viewer) can look for those watermarks when opening the image.

    So there is no excuse for not tracing you, if the data is in the image not the metadata.
    Of course they might choose not to look for it, that’s another story.

    • Rob Wilson says:

      Paul E ? .. LOL

      spot on .. P

      Exactly what is being proposed to the CHSG : Metadata stripping Committee .. will they listen I hear you ask ?

      Combo of persistent Ids and Stegano… not necessarily Digimarc though …

      Now Gwyn sounds like something you have heard of before ..


  4. Alex Ramsay says:

    As far as I can tell, WordPress (not included here) seems not to strip images of their metadata when they are saved to desktop.


  5. Terence Chan says:

    We’ll have to wait for the details of the proposed legislation to see just how frightening the proposals really are. But there is one thing I don’t understand: if “orphan works” are defined as ‘works to which access is effectively barred because the copyright holder cannot be traced’, then how can one decide if a work is “orphan” without a full and diligent search for the copyright holder? And surely, if somebody steals a photo from a social media site, then that image should be traceable back to that social media site to see who posted it in the first place? Often, you don’t even need to be that diligent: an image search using TinEye should show up at least some of the websites using that image, and hopefully at least some of those will be legitimate uses of the image, making clear who the copyright holder is.

  6. James Morgan says:

    Maybe someone could clarify.
    In jpeg files the metadata travels in a side-car file and can without much effort be stripped from the image. My understanding is that once you transform your images to DNG format, the metadata is incorporated to the image file and cannot be stripped out. Is my understanding correct?

  7. Tony Parry says:

    When you put a photo on any social media site you should always put a large Water mark on the pic IE Photo Tone Parry Copyrighted (c)in bold Black or White Writing.

  8. Anne says:

    This is something I feel the Government should not be contemplating. If you create it, it’s yours, if not, trace the owner and get permission. (unless it’s from a freebie site of course) or if you’re a blogger and authors are more than happy for you to promote them using their book art, then that’s fine.

    But until a legislation is in place to protect all Metadata concerning photographs etc, then the only way around it is to only deal with sites such as Google and Tumblr who would not deprive images of their Metadata, which I would find to be quite limiting but…

    The only other difficult way round this is, if by chance the owner of the work sees or is informed of their works being used without their knowledge, get in touch with whoever is using it (if poss) and prove that it’s their’s, which I’m sure they can but, who has the time for such a task? What is one to do if all traces of ownership will be erased once it’s out there into the Web? And it appears like nothing is going to be done? There’s no firm control over what you put out. It’s like a songwriter not making a single dime of royalties no matter how many times their song gets covered?!

    This article takes me back to something I once heard, going back eleven years. About someone who wrote a book and took all the pictures. Those same pictures ended up in another book on the other side of the world. A friend of the writer miraculously came across these other books that were written in different languages. (obviously he told his book-friend about this) and in the end, the writer successfully sued the person for using his artwork and making money from it.

    Now in this case the man’s pictures were traceable, (they were on his website) and, the person who used his pictures was just too lazy to get in touch or even to ask for some other original stuff. If something like this could happen then, how about now?

    Nice article Gwyn.

  9. Brian Murray says:

    Google were talking about removing or lowering the search ranking of file sharing sites on their search engine. Effectively meaning such sites come lower down the list than more “legit” sites. Their criteria? The number of “take down” warnings a site gets.

    Sounds good, until one realises that the main offender for “take down” notices is YouTube, and that is part of Google. I don’t see Google lowering YouTube’s ranking, do you?

    Such is the lack of respect social and Internet media has for people’s intellectual property.

  10. Toni Allen says:

    I give up! Years ago when my main website was fresh and new many people stole it. Yes, copied it into their sites or blogs in its entirety, all of my hard work. I became exhausted policing them and slapping their wrists, threatening law suits I could never afford. Now I have to police my images as well, which is why I only us Fotolibra, and save all of my ‘not so good’ images for social network sites. Do I care if anyone sees my work? Yes. Do I care if anyone steals my work? Yes. I’ll checkout the watermark info and see how it works, but I expet the ‘big boys’ will find a way around whatever we do to protect our images. I’m not a pessimist, just a realist.

  11. Ann Parry says:

    Thanks for informative Orphan Work ITPC post, Gwyn.

    On twitter, fittingly, I’ve shared link to photo metadata test results for social media.

    All the best – Ann

  12. What about incorporating copyright declaration into the photographic image before uploading to Facebook etc?

  13. Lee says:

    I’m phyisically drained at having to go though the continuous procedure of photomechanic to embed my soul into my images before posting them online. Trawling through twitter, my band and music imagery hasten seen repeatedly on header banners and profile photos, I’ve managed to retrieve one payment from a hotel chain using an image without permission and went to Spain only to find one of my images in the centre of a well known former premier league football player..

    • Lee says:

      Apologies.. iPad playing up and submitted the unfinished post above.. The digital age has opened the lid on pandora s box and it’s overflowing and will surely never close again. Like Toni, I don’t have the finances to pursue these people and have reigned myself to the fact that we are more and more powerless to do anything about it, particularly when images are fatten being used internationally..