by Andrew Wiard for theBPPA
Or, at least, tell the millions of viewers who search millions of pictures every day where to go to license them. From late 2020 Google links them directly to your website – provided you have entered the correct link into your IPTC metadata.
This is extremely easy and simple to do, and to incorporate into your daily workflow. Here’s how.
If you have entered the Four Cs into your IPTC metadata ( see the BPPA’s Four Cs, Five Ws and an A ), Google already reveals three of these, Creator, Credit and Copyright, so it should be clear who took your pictures and who owns them. But they also need to know how to license them.
Time now to add the Fifth C. Google calls this the IPTC Web Statement of Rights field, but it appears in photographic software with labels such as Copyright Info ( Photoshop and Bridge ), Copyright Info URL ( Lightroom ) and Copyright URL ( Photo Mechanic ). That’s the Fifth C.
The web link you enter here should lead to what it says on the tin, your copyright information, a licence, or licences available, or a contact to find out more details – whatever information you choose to provide.
One caveat – for Google to recognise this link it must begin ‘http’ or ‘https’, taking the form of a full web address.
As here in Photoshop:
And here in Photo Mechanic:
That done Google places a badge on your pictures indicating that your information is available and linking to it.
That’s all you need to do. It’s as simple as that. There’s a lot more to Google’s scheme, outlined below, but that’s the only requirement to get your badge, and tell the world what they need to know to license your work.
The badge also uses a second set of fields for further Licensor information, not required but recommended. This is partly because the copyright owner is not necessarily the licensor. Your pictures might be licensed by an agent, not you. It is even possible for you to distribute some of your pictures directly using your own fifth C, others through a licensor. Or, you could use the Licensor fields as an additional way to license your pictures yourself.
This requires the IPTC Licensor URL field, a web address in a sub-section of the Licensor field, which in turn is to be found within the IPTC Extension of IPTC metadata.
Not all photographic software is yet fully compatible with IPTC Extension metadata fields, but the relevant information can be entered via File Info in Photoshop and Bridge, and through the sidebar metadata panels of Lightroom. The name of the licensor goes in the Licensor field, and the web link, again a full web address, should link to licensing information.
Here in Photoshop:
And here in Lightroom:
Google does provide an alternative way of making the above information accessible, by adding ‘structured data fields’ to web pages. In plain English inserting IPTC info into the pages themselves. This procedure however is far from plain and simple. It is avoided in this brief guide because almost all photographers will already be editing the IPTC in pictures, and because where both web page and photo metadata are present Google reads the former not the latter.
Here below is Google’s statement of the information they need to be entered into your IPTC photo metadata:
So, in addition to your four Cs, now add your 5th C, and maybe an L for Licensor.
And don’t forget the A – A for always, always enter this information into all your pictures.