Research & Testing

Software for Rights Test

Tagging images with rights information – how well does software perform?

Rights information tells people how they may legally use an image. It usually includes the name of the creator, who owns copyright, and details of how the image may be used.  This information can be embedded in the image file, so it is attached to the image like a label stuck to the back of a print.

Copyright law in virtually all countries requires that people check image rights before using an image publicly and to comply with them, and in some countries there is a specific requirement to check rights data, including embedded data.

But, you need software tools to embed and read rights data. Which ones work best?

The standards organisation IPTC has tested commonly available software to find out how effective different tools are in writing, editing and reading rights data in an image.

IPTC has tested more than a dozen programs which are available for free or with a price below 150 US Dollar/Euro/British Pound.

The test measures two results for each piece of software:

  • How it helps the Creator of a photo add and edit rights information
  • How it helps the User of a photo find and read rights information

 IPTC tested the software to see if the following data fields are available for use:

  • The creator of an image (photographer)
  • Copyright Notice
  • Rights Usage Terms
  • Date the image was created

The test results are shown as traffic-light-like icons, one covering the Creator requirements and one covering the User requirements:

 = all the tested fields are available
 = all the tested fields are available and use the latest standards
for this purpose (IPTC Extension and PLUS)
 = at least Copyright Notice and Creator are available
 = Copyright Notice and Rights Usage Terms are not available


+ version
Usage for Rights


ACDsee 17 Windows
Mac OS X
   for sale ACD Systems
Aperture 3.5

Mac OS X

   not for sale anymore Apple Inc.
Bridge CS6 + CC

Mac OS X

   for sale Adobe Systems
digikam 4.1 Windows
Mac OS X

Open Source

Fast Picture Viewer Pro
Windows    for sale Axel Rietschin Software
Geosetter 3.4.16 Windows    free Friedemann Schmidt
Gimp 2.8 Windows
Mac OS X
   free The Gimp Team
GPSPhotolinker 1.6.7 Mac OS X    free Early Innovations
IrfanView 4.36 Windows   (1) free Irfan Skiljan
Lightroom 5.6 Windows
Mac OS X
   for sale Adobe Systems
Marksta 3.2 iOS (App)    for sale Marksta Ltd
App shop (iTunes)
Metadata Touch 6.5 Windows    for sale Digital Confidence
Photoshop Elements 12

Mac OS X

   for sale Adobe Systems
Photo Mechanic 5 Windows
Mac OS X
   for sale Camera Bits
Photo Supreme 2.2.5 Windows
Mac OS X
   for sale IDImager
Picasa 3.9 Windows
Mac OS X
   free Google Inc
Pixelmator 3.0 Mac OS X    for sale Pixelmator Team Ltd
Preview 6.0 Max OS X    for sale Apple Inc.
xnViewMP 0.68 Windows
Mac OS X
   free for private use xnView Software

Notes for Experts

 (1) IrfanView supports only the IIM data format and not XMP.