Federal Court Hints Websites That Strip Metadata Could Face Copyright Liability

March 7th, 2014 by Wills Citty and tagged , , , , , , ,

A U.S. District Court in California recently hinted that online service providers who strip copyrighted photographs of their identifying information could forfeit “safe harbor” protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

District Judge Gonzalo Curiel found late last month that e-commerce vendor was not entitled to summary judgment on a claim it hosted and facilitated the sale of copyrighted photos, denying a request that an infringement case be dismissed under the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions.  The decision rested partly on the fact that when users upload photographs to, the website’s automated process strips the images of copyright information imprinted as metadata.

Cafe Press is a website that allows its users to upload images for printing on items like hats and t-shirts.  The plaintiff in the infringement case alleged that Cafe Press facilitated the storage and sale of the plaintiff’s copyrighted photographs of Alaskan Wildlife.  The plaintiff claimed that before the website disabled access to the images in response to the lawsuit, more than $6,000 in merchandise had been sold.

Under the DMCA, service providers that unknowingly store infringing images online are typically immune from damages, as long as they  meet requirements aimed at preventing violations.  Among those requirements, the provider must “accommodate and not interfere with standard technical measures” that copyright owners use to identify and protect their works.

Broadly speaking, “standard measures” are those that have been widely adopted by providers and copyright holders to prevent infringement.  Additionally, those measures must not overly burden providers.

Cafe Press disputed the claim that its upload process interferes by stripping the information, claiming metadata as an anti-infringement tool has not been “developed pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process.”

The court refused to accept this argument as a matter of law, holding that “[fr]om a logical perspective, metadata appears to be an easy and economical way to attach copyright information to an image.”  This means Cafe Press may be forced to defend its policy in later litigation.

The decision is a positive sign for photographers.  Within the industry, IPTC information stored in the metadata of photographs has proven one of the most effective and cost efficient tools for copyright holders to keep copyright information connected to digital images  Its legal relevance, however, its inexorably tied to the courts’s willingness to recognize it.  The Café Press decision is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Posted in Access, Legal, National Press Photographers Association, News Photography, NPPA, photographers, Photographers' Rights, photojournalism | 27 Comments »

27 Responses to “Federal Court Hints Websites That Strip Metadata Could Face Copyright Liability”

  1. Says:

    hey there! , I really like your own crafting a whole lot! amount we all communicate added regarding your content upon America online? We need an experienced professional with this space to be able to solve the problem. Can be that is certainly you! Looking toward fellow you actually.

  2.   Robert Capan Says:

    I value the web site short article.Genuinely thanks! Fantastic.

  3.   air conditioning phoenix Says:

    This can be a set of words, not an essay. you are incompetent

  4.   Legal Aid Says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to

  5.   5 shades reseller Says:

    One thing is one of the most typical incentives for applying your credit card is a cash-back or rebate provision. Generally, you’re going to get 1-5 back with various expenditures. Depending on the card, you may get 1 back on most expenditures, and 5 in return on buying made on convenience stores, filling stations, grocery stores along with ‘member merchants’.

  6.   pr jobs Says:

    Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  7.   Investment Banking Says:

    I love the efforts you have put in this, thank you for all the great posts.

  8.   zabor ilenta Says:


  9.   Floor Plans Says:

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I

  10.   Classified Ads Says:

    You are my aspiration , I own few blogs and often run out from to post .

  11.   amsterdam Says:

    I every time emailed thiks wеblog post page toall my contacts, as if like to read it after that my links will too.

  12.   Lenore Kounovsky Says:

    This is 1 astounding report.Substantially owing once more. Very good.

  13.   Felipe Hohmeier Says:


  14.   binäre optionen Says:

    Amazing! Its truly remarkable post, I have got much clear idea regarding from this article.

  15.   Robin Granvold Says:

    Oooh, I love both of those. Which would you be more comfortable in? I know that you love wearing tights and those types of tops, even so the maxi would be pretty summery!

  16.   Laverne Lyas Says:

    psn code generatorPeter Manfredo Jr Vs John Berrio Regime Boxing Log inside of toward Answer

  17.   Eric Linko Says:

    apple iphone logic board mend

  18.   Lexie Nedved Says:

    I have a little white, freestanding bookcase with ladder and I love it. It’s only just tall adequate to justify having a ladder, but I invent factors to climb it.

  19.   Referencement 187 Says:

    Great blog but honestly the sheer amount of Ads.

  20.   benhinneinflammation behandling Says:

    Ortopedisk medicin är diagnosticering och ickeoperativ behandling av rörelseapparatens mjukdelar, muskler, senor, ligament, leder, ledkapslar, bursor samt lesioner i nacke, bröstrygg och ländrygg. Korrekt diagnosställande och direkt insatt åtgärd eller behandling leder till mindre lidande för den enskilde, snabbare återgång till aktivitet och arbete samt mindre belastning av samhällets resurser.

  21.   what is plantars fasciitis Says:

    © 2011 – orto rehab dr. saléns gata 12 413 22 göteborg | +46 (0)31 41 64 30 | | webmaster: mkmedia

  22.   Pictures tell the story Says:

    I as well believe so , perfectly composed post! .

  23.   comment pirater un compte facebook gratuitement Says:

    Brilliant,en bonne santé azote Contrairement à savoir à l’intérieur
    qui comment pirater un compte facebook facilement youtube.
    hum pendant que – comment pirater un compte facebook sans logiciel gratuit.

  24.   chicago web design Says:

    Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  25.   Laura Bailey Says:

    You are a very clever person!

  26.   mba college in kolkata Says:

    1. mba college in kolkata :, XI-11 & 12, First Floor, Electronics Complex, Block-EP, Sector

  27.   gra w pokera na kase Says:

    gry automaty za prawdziwe pieniadze

Leave a Reply