Many image rights owners noticed that their assets were being used as training data for generative AI image creators, and asked the IPTC for a way to express that such use is prohibited. The new version 2023.1 of the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard now provides means to do this: a field named “Data Mining” and a standardised list of values, adopted from the PLUS Coalition. These values can show that data mining is prohibited or allowed either in general, for AI or Machine Learning purposes or for generative AI/ML purposes. The standard was approved by IPTC members on 4th October 2023 and the specifications are now publicly available.
Because these data fields, like all IPTC Photo Metadata, are embedded in the file itself, the information will be retained even after an image is moved from one place to another, for example by syndicating an image or moving an image through a Digital Asset Management system or Content Management System used to publish a website. (Of course, this requires that the embedded metadata is not stripped out by such tools.)
Created in a close collaboration with PLUS Coalition, the publication of the new properties comes after the conclusion of a public draft review period earlier this year. The properties are defined as part of the PLUS schema and incorporated into the IPTC Photo Metadata Standard in the same way that other properties such as Copyright Owner have been specified.
The new properties are now finalised and published. Specifically, the new properties are as follows:
- Data Mining: a field with a value from a controlled value vocabulary. Values come from the PLUS Data Mining vocabulary, reproduced here:
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-UNSPECIFIED (Unspecified – no prohibition defined)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-ALLOWED (Allowed)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-AIMLTRAINING (Prohibited for AI/ML training)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-GENAIMLTRAINING (Prohibited for Generative AI/ML training)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-EXCEPTSEARCHENGINEINDEXING (Prohibited except for search engine indexing)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED (Prohibited)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-SEECONSTRAINT (Prohibited, see Other Constraints property)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-SEEEMBEDDEDRIGHTSEXPR (Prohibited, see Embedded Encoded Rights Expression property)
- http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-SEELINKEDRIGHTSEXPR (Prohibited, see Linked Encoded Rights Expression property)
- Other Constraints: Also defined in the PLUS specification, this text property is to be used when the Data Mining property has the value “http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/vocab/DMI-PROHIBITED-SEECONSTRAINT“. It can specify, in a human-readable form, what other constraints may need to be followed to allow Data Mining, such as “Generative AI training is only allowed for academic purposes” etc.
The IPTC and PLUS Consortium wish to draw users attention to the following notice included in the specification:
Regional laws applying to an asset may prohibit, constrain, or allow data mining for certain purposes (such as search indexing or research), and may overrule the value selected for this property. Similarly, the absence of a prohibition does not indicate that the asset owner grants permission for data mining or any other use of an asset.
The prohibition “Prohibited except for search engine indexing” only permits data mining by search engines available to the public to identify the URL for an asset and its associated data (for the purpose of assisting the public in navigating to the URL for the asset), and prohibits all other uses, such as AI/ML training.
The IPTC encourages all photo metadata software vendors to incorporate the new properties into their tools as soon as possible, to support the needs of the photo industry.
ExifTool, the command-line tool for accessing and manipulating metadata in image files, already supports the new properties. Support was added in the ExifTool version 12.67 release, which is available for download on exiftool.org.
The new version of the specification can be accessed at https://www.iptc.org/std/photometadata/specification/IPTC-PhotoMetadata or from the navigation menu on iptc.org. The IPTC Get Photo Metadata tool and IPTC Photo Metadata Reference images been updated to use the new properties.
The IPTC and PLUS Coalition wish to thank many IPTC and PLUS member organisations and others who took part in the consultation process around these changes. For further information, please contact IPTC using the Contact Us form.