Categories: News

Online Digital JPEG images May Soon Be Subject To DRM

Oh what fresh hell is this? If you thought the pitfalls of DRM (Digital Rights Management) had finally dawned on the tech industry, then well no, no it has not. Considering an initiative which has been launched by the Joint Photographic Experts Group with the aim of attempting to persuade people of the benefits of shoe-horning DRM into regular images which are found on the Internet is in fact a good idea; Hint, no it’s not.

The concept of metaphorically locking down images is technically not new when you consider the “professional version of the JPEG format which is JPEG 2000 already has a DRM extension called JPEC”. But usage of JPEG 2000 is targeted towards highly specialized applications that include medical imaging and cinema image workflows. The fore mentioned photographic experts group quite likes the idea of essentially implementing this idea and therefore “backporting DRM to legacy JPEG images.”

If someone somewhere incorporated DRM into a particular image, said digital photo could not be copied for say illustrative purposes, If that happens then the term “Fair Use” for consumers would need to be quickly redefined. An interesting fact which has been examined concerns the possible benefits of cryptography within JPEG images, this includes the possibility of “allowing the optional signing and encryption of JPEG metadata”. By doing this, it offers a potential safeguard to consumers who would have the option to “digitally sign identifying personal metadata with the aim of encrypting it against access by unauthorized users.”

From my perspective it seems rather pointless to lock down images in this way, consumers have a right to share, post and access images (legal ones) without the fear of restrictions. A perfect example of this is by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who pointed out that this could, in theory, mean consumers could be stopped from “reposting photos from an online catalogue to a Pinterest account.” What would be the point of stopping consumers from essentially offering a company free advertising by conveying their products to friends and followers.

It looks as if this notion is not up for immediate consideration, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on, you never know what could be taken seriously; just look at TPP.

Thank you eff for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of destructoid

Christopher Files

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