If you’ve ever checked Google to see where your images may have ended up, it can be pretty frustrating to see a photo you created spread across the internet with no attribution.

Google Image Search

Well, after a battle with Getty Images a while back, Google has made some changes to their image search function. The first move was to remove the ‘view image’ button that allowed browsers to access source images (the easiest form of image piracy).

As of September 27th, Google began adding “Creator” and “Credit” metadata to their image searches, and will soon be adding “Copyright Notice” metadata.

Google adds photo credits to image search

Great news, right!

Well, yes, it IS great that Google is taking this step to help protect the intellectual property of image creators. It does not STOP people from stealing your photos. But, it will go a long way towards people not being able to use the old “I didn’t know who owned the image!” defense.

The Murky World of Internet Image Attribution

The big problem here for photographers (and image creators around the world) is that it is fairly easy to strip the metadata out of a photo. Finding who created an image might get slightly easier (assuming the creator included that information or it hasn’t been stripped out somehow) now that this information will be included in image searches, but it is by no means a guarantee that your photos will always retain your copyright information or photo creator credit.

I have had many, many photos published on blogs and the image processing software they use to create their layouts usually takes the original images and create a totally new image that fits their layout, sans copyright information and creator/credit information.

That means for photographers who are submitting their photos for online publication may be at greater risk for their images to be shared/stolen without getting the proper attribution.

Baby Steps

This decision by Google, though it had to be forced upon them by a legal dispute, is a step in the right direction. We need to do more to properly credit the creators of images so that they can get the recognition (and quite often, compensation) they deserve!

What do you think about this new feature that Google is adding to their image search engine? Tell us in the comments!


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