Google hasn’t always had the best of relationships with photographers, but today it announced a small measure that should go some way toward appeasing image rightsholders.
The internet giant has revealed that it will now include creator and credit metadata in photos it displays on Google Images, and in the coming weeks it will add copyright notice metadata, meaning visitors can see with a couple of clicks who the photographer was and who owns the rights. The creator is usually the person who took the photograph, while the credit may include additional parties or rightsholders who supplied the image.
To access this information, you hit the three little dots displayed on each image, click “image credits,” and a little pop-up box will reveal all.
Google partnered with two organizations for this initiative. It collaborated with photo industry body CEPIC (Center of the Picture Industry), which represents 600 photo agencies and libraries across 20 European countries, though it has affiliates in North America and Asia too. While CEPIC has member agencies of all sizes, covering news outlets, art galleries, and more, it claims some of the biggest names in the photography world — including Getty, Reuters, and Shutterstock.
And Google is also working with IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council), a standards consortium that constitutes some of the world’s biggest news agencies, including the BBC, Associated Press (AP), Agence France-Presse (AFP), and the New York Times.
For context, Google has incurred the wrath of many agencies and photographers for scraping images from the original source and displaying them in high-resolution format rather than as thumbnails. Getty filed a complaint with the EU several years ago over the practice, though earlier this year Getty and Google declared a truce by entering a licensing partnership. So today is another step forward for Google in terms of building bridges with the photography world.
Alongside the metadata, Google is also working with CEPIC and IPTC to “create better usage guidance for photographers, photo agencies, and publishers to include copyright and attribution information in image metadata,” according to a blog post by Google product manager Ashutosh Agarwal.
Today’s news comes just a few days after Google revealed it was refreshing a number of its search-based properties, including Google Images. Indeed, the company said that it was retooling the search algorithm within Google Images to place a greater emphasis on image placement, web page authority, and the freshness of the content.