The Metadata Manifesto

July 13, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | Websites | Comment |

Stock Artists AllianceStock Artists Alliance Press Release

July 11, 2006. Photographers losing money from copyright infringement; editors scrapping photos from layouts because they lack caption information; librarians struggling to make burgeoning digital asset collections publicly available-Diverse problems, but they share a common solution: metadata. Anyone who has searched for images on stock photography web sites has benefited from metadata, but once the image is removed from the site, that information is usually lost unless it’s been embedded into the image file. That metadata can provide critical ownership and usage information, as well as descriptive caption information that can be used to help search and identify image subjects.

To raise awareness about metadata and encourage its adoption, the Stock Artists Alliance is releasing its Metadata Manifesto. The Manifesto provides guiding principles and practices for anyone who creates, uses, or manages electronic images, as well as those developing digital hardware and software. Highlighting the efforts of international standards bodies and industry groups (such as IPTC and PLUS), the Manifesto stresses the urgency for industry-wide metadata adoption.

As an advocacy group for stock photographers, SAA is especially concerned about the impact on the stock photography industry. As images are disseminated, their underlying information is often lost. With the continuing fragmentation of the stock photography market and proposed copyright law changes that would undermine protections for owners of so-called “orphan works,” SAA believes it is now critical to increase metadata use and support.

“This is SAA’s wake-up call to the photo industry,” says David Riecks, Chair of SAA’s Imaging Technology Standards committee. “Photographers need to add metadata to their digital images now, or risk losing future income. Without metadata, they may as well be putting their images in a black hole.”

Adds Riecks, “We need industry-wide commitment to metadata. We need technology that makes it easy to embed it, preserve it, and facilitate tracking and rights management. Without a dedicated industry-wide effort, using and managing digital assets will continue to be problematic, and photographers stand to lose more than anyone.”

A PDF of the Metadata Manifesto can be downloaded at:

You can weigh in on the Manifesto and metadata at:

About Stock Artists Alliance:
SAA is a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to the protecting the rights of stock photographers worldwide. Information about SAA’s programs and initiatives at