I'm not very happy about this, and neither are a lot of other pro photographers and digital content creators. The Yahoo tool will purposefully strip out textual metadata, which includes copyright management information, ownership information, captions, and so forth, from images. I'm no lawyer, but this sure looks like a direct violation of the DCMA, and I expect legal action on this if the tool is not modified or withdrawn.
As a photographer and writer, I also suggest that Yahoo consider removing this software and making a statement about the seriousness (and potential legal implications) of using software like "Smush it" to remove metadata from images (or other media assets). My guess is that the engineers were just trying to make something that improved performance, but it could have very bad consequences for copyright holders.
Att: Yahoo Developers This is horrible news for image makers. Photographers, artists, illustrators should not have to lose their copyright info all for the sake of download speed. The benefits of faster downloads do not outweigh the disadvantages of works that are missing vital information such as the copyright holder and contact info for the image's author. Metadata can also be used to tag the licensed usage for a specific image. This digital paper trail connects the artist to their work and proves ownership. Having this info embedded in the file also provides a barrier to potential copyright violators.
Using Smush It technology is a violation of the DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT OF 1998. Smush It does not protect the integrity of copyright management information (CMI) and instead allows the removal or alteration of CMI without authority or permission of the copyright owner. Even worse, Smush It allows redistribution of altered works and promotes the fact that CMI has been removed or altered without authority.
Suggestion to Yahoo Yahoo developers should revisit their intentions of the Smush It technology, and allow it to keep copyright and contact information of the author in the "smushed" file. Faster download speeds is not a benefit over copyright infringement litigation. Please show some integrity in your service.
On a personal note: Just because digital technology paired with the internet has made images easier to share, download, and redistribute does not mean that usage ownership and intellectual property rights should now be ignored and/or eliminated. Image users need to be better educated and the internet should respect the laws of ownership that exist in the analog world. Yahoo should help to promote such advantages of metadata instead of promoting the removal of it, therefor encouraging copyright infringement. When guns were invented the laws for murder did not change.
Thank you for listening.
Jay Watson ---------------------------------- Jay Watson Photography San Francisco, CA
Thanks, Stoyan, for your quick response. I had a feeling that there was nothing devious intended - just an oversight or unawareness by engineers looking to improve a process. No doubt you've now had the crash course on metadata!
Good luck with your tool, and I'll watch for future iterations of it. And thanks for being part of the solution, instead of part of the problem!