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Flickr STILL Removes Copyright Data from Resized Images

I'm pretty annoyed right now. How much of that has to do with the Pittsburgh Penguins and how much of has to do with what I'm about to write about, I don't know…

A friend of mine just started a photoblog, and I commented that he should include the EXIF information in his photos so that I could see what his settings were (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focal length, etc.) and make better comments or suggestions.

He said "I am." I then noticed that he was embedding smaller versions of his originals from flickr.

I did a quick search and, gee, this post from JDD comes up. Guess who was the first commenter?

JDD's post was referenced at, which cites this flickr discussion dating back almost two years now.

Flickr hasn't fixed the problem. In fact, in the discussion linked above, someone who is "flickr staff" says:

From our perspective we get a couple of really nice properties by stripping EXIF/IPTC.

And you get one big freakin' problem, too. Sorry, but the negatives seem to outweigh the positives on this one.

Bulking up the served images with data that no one sees, and only an (awesome) minority of people care about means that bandwidth has to come out of somewhere.

Only a "minority" of people "care" because only a minority of people are aware of the problem. This is likely something everyone would say they "care" about if they know, and since when is "most people aren't aware of something" a reason to do the sleazy, cheap, and easy thing? How about doing what's right regardless of how likely you are to be found out by any given user?

Another problem is the metadata can be arbitrarily large. You can stick Word documents in there. Or base 64 encoded copyright infringing MP3s.

Riiiiiight. Flickr pisses on our rights because we're all potential thieves who are going to embed MP3s into our EXIF tags. Uh huh.

A significant percentage of folks hide their EXIF (I'll try to dig up that percentage). So expectations would have be managed around that. We're simply not going to be able to go back and re-process people's images on preference update.

Why not?

I'm seriously considering deleting my flickr account. I'm going to take a few days to assess things.

Update: Come to think of it, I pay for flickr, too. What the shit!?

5 Responses to "Flickr STILL Removes Copyright Data from Resized Images"

  1. [...] Erik Barzeski notes that Flickr only includes EXIF/IPTC information on your original images, not on the thumbnails and smaller versions. Amazingly, the Flickr staff seems to see this as a feature. I prefer to keep photos on my own servers, but none of the PHP-based gallery software that I’ve seen supports metadata on resized images, either. I wonder how easy it would be to add this using getimagesize and iptcembed. The ATPM galleries do include this metadata because the images were resized on my Mac using sips. [...]

  2. JDD makes a good point here on Obama's first presidential picture (taken on a Canon 5D Mark II).

  3. [...] Flickr STILL Removes Copyright Data from Resized Images | NSLog(); [...]

  4. Your only option is not to upload large versions - max size 500px on one side. Stupid, yes, but ensures things like © statements are left in there.

    1. [quote comment="52504"]Your only option is not to upload large versions - max size 500px on one side. Stupid, yes, but ensures things like © statements are left in there.[/quote]

      That's still not really a solution. Data's still stripped from resized versions, some of which might be plenty large enough for use on the web.

      And that doesn't even touch on the obvious: you shouldn't have to limit yourself to posting only small images in the hopes that people won't steal them just to work around Flickr's laziness or ineptitude. Flickr should help to ensure that your data and copyright live on.