Re: Comments in media

Joel Crisp (
Wed, 30 Nov 1994 09:26:56 +0100

> From Tue Nov 29 22:58 GMT 1994
> Date: Tue, 29 Nov 1994 23:50:21 +0100
> Originator:
> From: kevinh@eit.COM (Kevin Hughes)
> To: Multiple recipients of list <>
> Subject: Comments in media
> X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
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> A week or so ago, David Koblas (
> tossed out a remark in:
> ...that TIFF and GIF images could retain copyright
> information via comments, and it's interesting that nobody
> has explored this before! I've seen other people's copyrighted
> images spread around the Web like wildfire, and there is often
> very little the orginal author can do about it, unless they're
> willing to spend a lot of time tracking down webmasters.
> I call this kind of thing an "image virus" - sometimes
> the first person who copies a piece is ignorant of copyright law;
> once an image is viewed on a certain number of sites, people
> begin to assume it's in the public domain and it gets copied even
> more. For instance, you may be familiar with the "little red shaded
> bullet ball" virus - or the more recent "tiny new! balloon" virus...
> then there's a whole strain of horizontal rule images... :)
> One can't stop this thing completely, of course, but
> I'd like to propose some things which may help:
> * Make it easy for authors to create and change comments.
I would prefer to see a dedicated field for copyright. Also, I would
like to see provision for a PGP authenticated image format. One problem
with digital images is that they are too easy to modify, and the orignal
owner of the copyright may not want to be associated with the modified
image. PGP authentication allows the author to determine and prove that
the image has been modified.
> A little program that reads and writes comments to images
> would be great, for instance:
> comment house.gif *.jpg *.tiff *xbm -r
> ...could read any comments that exist, while:
> comment *.gif -w "This image is Copyright 1994 John Doe.\n
> Created in Somewhere, CA by\n
> Used with permission."
> ...would write in the comment easily. It would be nice if
> xv, xpaint, and the like could do this easily as well. Of
> course, bad guys could change the comment easily too, but
> at least they have to consciously do something after copying
> an image.
Check out netpbm. It is an image processing library with lots of
functionality. It may well support this already ( and if not, it will
be easy to modify to do it ).
> * Make it easy for users to view comments.
Most serious MS-Windows and UNIX photoshop type programs do this.
> What do you think of the idea of being able to view image
> comments in Web browsers, so when you (right-mouse click,
> option-click, shift-click, move the mouse, menu option,
> whatever) on an inline image, the comments appear (in a
> message area, a dialog box, a pop-up area, below the image,
> etc.)?
Ummm. I'd generalise it to image information, and use field tagging in
a data block to allow other field entries to be displayed. This would be
useful for our images, as we could download the associated database record
( in human readable format ) along with the image.
> This can make it easy for webmasters to determine the origins of
> images and the limitations associated with them, and can make it easy for
> administrators to contact the author for permission to use a work. It can
> also make it easy to index media by keywords, create contact sheets with
> descriptions, etc., etc.. And Web users would know exactly what's going on.
> On that note, does anyone know if the QuickTime and MPEG formats
> support comments? Sun audio?
> If somebody made this tool/patch/feature I know there are many
> online artists out there who would be grateful! I would do this, but
> image format and browser hacking is currently out of my area of expertise.
> Any takers? Comments?
> -- Kevin
> --
> Kevin Hughes *
> Enterprise Integration Technologies Webmaster (
> Hypermedia Industrial Designer * Duty now for the future!
As Chris Lilley pointed out to me, this may not be the most appropriate list
for this type of conversation.