Orphan Works & Stripping Metadata/Contact Info From Your Photos Explained

Posted May. 10th, 2013 by Daniel J. Cox

I recently became aware of a podcast that does a great job of explaining the dangers of stripping Metadata/Contact Information from all of our photos posted to the web. Facebook is without a doubt the biggest offender. I’ve written a response to this Podcast that was originally going to be posted to the podcast’s YouTube page under discussions but my response was too long for that format, so I’ve posted here on my Blog. The podcast is over an hour long so most people probably aren’t going to go through the whole thing, but if you have some time, please listen to the whole piece. Add  it to your iTunes so you can take it along while you’re driving or whatever. It does a great job explaining the topic and why we should all be writing Facebook and other web portals to request they stop stripping our Contact Information.

My response to the Copyright Killings Podcast

Great job folks on a very important subject. I appreciate your work in this area. One of the issues I honestly believe is working against getting more interest in this subject is the term METADATA. The average Joe, non-professional or serious enthusiast photographer, has no idea what Metadata is and doesn’t care and when the word pops up Joe falls asleep. I’ve been discussing the subject of stripping Metadata/Contact Information at length with those who will listen and I always make a point to replace metadata with the words Contact Information. Everybody knows what Contact Information is and everybody would love to be contacted if someone wants to use their photo.

At the 34:50 point in the conversation David Diamond does an admirable job trying to get Mr. Steidl to discuss how the stripping of Contact Information effects the average Internet user who posts their images to Facebook. Unfortunately, Mr. Steidl misinterprets the question or maybe it was a language barrier; either way the message of how this effects the average Joe was not discussed.

What should have been mentioned was the danger to the average person who is just a casual poster to FB and how they could lose control of their photos with them being used in ways they don’t approve. As was discussed earlier in the conversation, maybe a family photo is used by a a corporation for an ad that the casual FB photographer had no idea was being used. Maybe it’s an ad for something they would find extremely offensive like smoking, Viagra, children trafficking or whatever. The point is, even though you may not be a professional photographer, any image that is void of Contact Information is at risk. We need to make sure the general public understands this. Without the support of ALL people taking pictures, our voice will be unheard. 

I’m working with ASMP in organizing a roundtable on this very important subject at the PhotoPlus Expo this fall in New York. I’m hopeful we’ll have a huge turnout. 

Sincerely, Daniel J. Cox

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There are 2 comments on this post…
  1. Christine CrosbyOn May. 12th, 2013

    Thanks for your determined attention to this subject Dan!! I really appreciate the information you share and your diligence on trying to right this wrong!!

    best wishes, C

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn May. 12th, 2013

      Thanks Christine, Unfortunately I see this as a very long term project. It’s definitely not going to happen over night. But, there does seem to be progress and if you can continue to share our efforts with others that is always helpful. Thanks again and we always love hearing from you

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