Economics of Trust and Permanent Metadata

Recently, there have been some great concern regarding Orphan Works legislation within the photography community.  There is a lot FUD going around and attempts to address it - some of these discussion ultimately come down to the need for "permanent metadata" or more security ala DRM.

But this isn't an issue about security - the issue is about business - which is about trust between buyer and seller - making sure that the transaction can occur as smoothly, easily and robustly as possible.

Remember the time when there weren't UPC labels (I barely do) - people went around tagging assets in the stores with prices, someone had to retype each tag into another machine to process a transaction. Time consuming but even price tagging was a revolution in metadata and efficiency over haggling over the price of an asset. UPC labels took it a quantum step further so that even today there are self-scan, self-pay stations - talk about trust!

Yeah, there still are thieves and people who switch tags but there always will be - it's a cost of doing business. It doesn't make
economic sense to shop for groceries in a bank vault.

There is a lot we can do to move the industry from haggling to UPC automation - so to speak. But it will involve opening up the pathway for information flow throughout the Adobe toolset and making it robust but only to the point it makes economic sense.

This is where the DRM argument comes into context - it doesn't make economic sense depending on the business transaction - In the grocery analogy, my oranges don't have a security tag around it but my $100 bottle of champagne might (if you live where I do). But ultimately it's the seller's choice.

Increasing the information flow mean preserving the metadata wherever possible, across file transformations, copy paste, compositing, etc.

Making it robust means, adding IDs (like UPC labels) that stay with the file and can be resolved to an owner. It may also mean storing those IDs in more robust places in the file in case the metadata gets accidentally stripped.

Yes ubiquity and security pull in opposite directions, but it's about finding the right tension based on the economics of business which is ultimately the economics of trust.

What do you think Adobe could do to move the industry forward?

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