Monday, July 02, 2007

Why Photoshop doesn’t provide secure metadata

Source: John Nack on Adobe
Author: John Nack

Certain feature requests come up over and over, and customers wonder why Adobe doesn’t address them. In many cases it’s a matter of time, resources, and priorities (i.e. good idea, we just haven’t gotten there yet). In other cases, however, there are conceptual issues that make addressing the request impractical or impossible.

One of those cases concerns something that seems simple: letting Photoshop users apply copyright & other info, then lock it so that it can’t be removed. Photographers in particular request this capability year in and year out. Unfortunately there are good reasons why things don’t work as desired. If you’re interested in the details, read on for an explanation from Photoshop architect Russell Williams.

If I understand what you’re looking for — a way to distribute your image so that somebody can’t strip out the copyright, the only way to come close is to embed the copyright in the image with a watermark, either visible or invisible. Digimarc can do it with a mostly-invisible watermark. The less visible it is, the less robust it is to image manipulation.

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