Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pro's and Con's of Metadata Removal

The SuperUtils company takes an approach towards photo metadata that makes good sense. Rather than spread FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) about specific information in a digital image that some users might wish to keep private, they spell out both pro and con arguments for the removal of embedded photo metadata. It would be great to see more developers taking a similar approach.

In our SAA Metadata Manifesto, all the metadata in an image should be preserved by default. If information is to be removed from a file, "the only exception would be changes done with the explicit consent of the copyright owner."
"Automated systems for creating and managing digital files need to honor and assist implementation of this principle. Most critically, these systems need to preserve ownership metadata by default and discourage removal of other metadata by warning users about the legal implications of removal."
In fact, if metadata is to be removed, the responsible party should take care as the intentional removal of "Copyright Management Information" (fields containing information such as the Creators name, Copyright notice and other contact information) is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and could result in substantial penalties.