Using Metadata to Protect your artwork


In a previous article we brought to your attention the changes to copyright law in the UK. Of note in that article was that one way of protecting yourself was using metadata to identify your work. A digital signature of a sort.

I recently ran across an article that details how to do this using Adobe Bridge. (A program I have but have only used once.)

We put the beginning of the article here, but you’ll need to follow the link to see the rest.

See original article here.

There is little you can do to stop someone who is determined to steal your images. Watermarks are easily removed and website scripts are defeated with a simple screen grab. These attempts only mar your work and make your site difficult to navigate.

In this tutorial I’m not talking about protection from image thiefs, I’m talking about protection from lost opportunities. Times when your images are inevitably downloaded, blogged, cropped, reblogged, faved and saved, and end up orphaned on someone’s hard drive, ffffound, imgfave, tumblr, or email—especially when that person likes your work and would really love to hire you, if they could just figure out where the image came from.

This happens more often than you think; art directors are constantly grabbing images whenever and wherever they see them, but seldom have the time to organize them and make note of where they came from (they should really be using Evernote). Months or even years down the road they might find your image floating in a random folder, uselessly renamed li4tceEqMb1qe.jpg by Tumblr, your name & website address croppped by an ignorant blogger leaving TinEye with no results.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could tuck your name, website and keywords and copyright information into every image to avoid this situation? You can—using Metadata.

Metadata is data about data—like the Created and Modified dates you see attached to every file on your computer. It’s like a little text file appended to files only adding a few bytes to the total file size. You might already be familiar with EXIF metadata added to JPGs by digital cameras, scanners and phones. The metadata I’m talking about in this tutorial is IPTC, but all you need to know is that by the end you’ll be able to embed your name, website, email, phone number, address and copyright into every image—automagically.

Batch Add Metadata to your Images
with Adobe Bridge

The first thing you’ll want to do is add metadata to all the images you have online, so that when your image goes walkabout, your name and contact information go with it.

1. Make a local backup of your website. Download all your images, or your whole site if it makes it easier, using FTP. Having an exact copy of your website on your hard drive is good practice anyway. Make another local copy, or a ZIP of your entire site in case something goes wrong.

Batch Add Metadata Using Adobe Bridge

2. Open Adobe Bridge. I am not a fan of Bridge, but this is one thing it’s actually good at. You can also use free tools, but your mileage may vary.

Batch Add Metadata Using Adobe Bridge

3. Navigate to your images. If your images are organized into folders select View > Show Items from Subfolders and uncheck View > Show Folders. You should now be looking at thumbnails of all your images. Select all by going to Edit > Select All or Ctrl+A.

Batch Add Metadata Using Adobe Bridge

See rest of article here.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul Weiner

    Interesting article. I just last week completed a project for McGraw-Hill and I used exactly the material you mentioned to metadata my illustrations for McGraw-Hill.

    Paul Weiner


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