Google Adds Image Rights Metadata to Photo Search Results

Google is taking another big step in protecting photographers’ copyright through the Google Images image search engine: it just added image rights metadata to the photo search results on Google Images.

Developed in collaboration with the photo industry consortium CEPIC and the media technical standards body IPTC, the new feature helps make it clear to Google search engine users who the copyright owner of a photo is.

“It’s traditionally been difficult to know the creator of images on the web, as well as who might own the rights,” Google says. “This information is often part of image metadata, and is key to protecting image copyright and licensing information.”

To see the Creator and Credit metadata for a photo, simply click on the “Image Credits” link to view it. Google says Copyright Notice metadata will also be added in the coming weeks for displaying notices such as, “©2008 Jane Doe.”

“Google’ new development to show Author and Credit Line on Google Images is a very positive step forward for all visual content creators and their rightsholders,” CEPIC writes. “It is without a doubt a determined move showing that visual content is not an anonymous creation but the result of the creativity of an identifiable person.”

Google says it’s also working with CEPIC and IPTC to advise photographers, photo agencies, and publishers in including copyright and attribution info in metadata.

This latest move comes less than a year after Google removed the “View Image” button from image search results to make it harder for people to download full image files while bypassing the original websites they’re found on.