30 June 2013

CONSULTATION: a Code of Practice for Creation and Retention of Metadata in Images to simplify copyright licensing

If you have a qualified opinion and are happy to give it, please download and review the  consultation document www.clsg.info/codeofpractice.html and using the word doc form, send your views back to the review team at clsg@clsg.info.

"The Copyright Licensing Steering Group (CLSG), established to oversee delivery of the recommendations from Copyright Works (Richard Hooper's report into simplifying copyright licensing), is running a consultation on a voluntary Code of Practice for creating and retaining Metadata in images.

The draft Code of Practice focuses on the inclusion and preservation of licensing metadata which can have huge benefits for both image creators and business users. It suggests a way forward to ensure that creators can get full recognition and, where applicable, compensation for their work and users of all types can be reassured that their use of an image does not infringe copyright.

The draft code does not affect any rights or obligations under current copyright law.

The draft Code of Practice can be accessed at: www.clsg.info/codeofpractice.html

We are seeking views on the draft Code of Practice from creators, licensors and users (both professional and amateur). Responses to questions contained in the consultation document should be sent to clsg@clsg.info.

The consultation will close on 28th August 2013."


Creative Barcode has played an active role in the Hooper/Lynch reviews and is a member of the Metadata work stream group headed up by Ros Lynch and Daniel Alexander QC. Whilst the work stream and the code of practice is predominantly focused on the professional photographic sector and its licensing value chain, Creative Barcode’s role was to consider how similar issues affect other creative industry types such as designers, illustrators and so forth, when they display creative works online in order to market their work and attract paid commissions.

The resolving of Metadata stripping is focused on reducing the threat to Creators of their work becoming Orphan [creator unknown] and thereby increase the opportunity to generate new or increased income not just for photographers but for a broader range of creative works.

In that context the Metadata code of conduct could achieve a broader reach beyond on and offline publishers, broadcasters, portal owners & search engines, photo agents and photographers

Metadata in the case of professional photographers (and even amateur snappers) begins with the hardware [camera] itself which automatically creates some data relating to time and location the shot was taken. Professional photographers have the knowledge, reason and skills to add more data to the shot. However for a variety of reasons as expertly explained in the draft code, that data can become removed from the image file. Thus if the image is used in an online article, for example, with no metadata present or source credit, it becomes harder for any other viewers of that work to identify the Creator and contact them to request permission to use the image and, where required, to purchase a license to use it.

In real terms, even though the method of getting paid for work differs from photographers, the same issues apply in context to visual images of other Creators works, once it becomes remote from their web site.

Internet users of search engines and social media sites are increasingly confused by free to access and free to view and that of free to download and use anything found on the web. The general perception is that if it is digital, on display, or returned via a search engine, then it must be free, unless the item is boldly marked otherwise. The average consumer / internet user does not have grounding in copyright law

Therefore, in the digital age Creators simply must become part of the solution by marking their works in a way that averts Orphan status and if applicable, by secondly communicating whether the work is free to use or has rights requiring permission to use and a fee or paid license




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Maxine J Horn/ Ros Lynch
Creative Barcode/CLSG
team@creativebarcode.com ; clsg@clsg.info
www.creativebarcode.com ; www.clsg.info/codeofpractice.html

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