I'm a amateur photographer that from time to time publish photos on various web sites for non profit.

I would like to add EXIF copyright information to each image so individuals/companies encountering my photos can see that they are not allowed to use/modify them for their own use.

Which EXIF tags should I use? According to this web site (this is also the tool I use to write EXIF) there is literally thousands of tags to choose from.

I have come up with the following tags:

Creator: (John Doe)


Copyright: (Copyright John Doe 2016)


Should I use different tags or additional tags?

I also wonder if search engines and apps (such as Google Photos, Facebook etc) favor certain tags when indexing photos. In that case it might be recommended to write information to these tags as well.

As @osullic pointed out, EXIF might not be the most obvious place to show copyright. But this question is only about EXIF data, as I know how to apply watermarks and copyright text overlays.

  • \$\begingroup\$ if you want non-technical people to "easily see that they are not allowed to use/modify them for their one [sic] use", then hiding copyright information in EXIF tags is not something they will find/see/read. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Facebook strips all EXIF info in photos, so the point is moot there. I'm not sure about Google Photos. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @osullic. Point taken :) Will rephrase my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – David
    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ IANAL, but people who AAL have made it clear to me that, in the USA, all works are implicitly under copyright, and it takes a specific accompanying release to allow people to release all or part of your rights. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2016 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


There certainly are thousands of tags to choose from, but it's not like you would put copyright in a tag for Aperture. There are only a coupled of standard EXIF tags that are relevant, and you've found them.

IPTC is a different metadata standard; you can fill those our too if you want. And, more modern software uses XMP, and there are even more fields there, allowing you to be more expressive — but EXIF is still the most common and I'd definitely start there.


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