DMLA Google Images Survey Results

October 25, 2019


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The DMLA is publishing the initial results of our first Google Images Survey in anticipation of our 24th Annual DMLA Conference in LA. With our members representing over 80% of North American image and video licensing, and more than a third of our respondents C-level executives, the survey will provide the DMLA with data and member consensus to guide future engagement, advocacy and educational efforts.

Here are some of the key initial takeaways from the survey – 

The strongest consensus dealt with watermarks, with 85% of respondents wanting Google Images to either display a generic watermark or a watermark chosen by the source, at their option. Sixty percent of respondents felt the current “Usage Rights” pull down, currently with five options – Not filtered by License, Labeled for reuse or reuse with modifications, non-commercial reuse or non-commercial reuse with modifications –  was not so helpful or not helpful at all. Respondents were evenly split on the core rights message provided by Google Images with the higher resolution results “Images may be subject to copyrights (Learn More) – with approximately 50% satisfied or very satisfied, and 50% unsatisfied, very unsatisfied or wanting the rights line to be generated by the source. 

Sixty percent of respondents would like to see an additional field noting whether a licensable image was either Royalty Free or Rights Managed, and would prefer to provide their metadata directly to Google Images than having Google scrape the web, or require them to supply metadata according to a proprietary schema.

Fully 40% of respondents with knowledge, were allocating more resources to Image search and SEO, suggesting it is becoming a more important source of discovery and lead generation, and 40% believe there could be more transparency on criteria for rankings and SEO. 

The Google Images product team wants to work more closely with the DMLA and the licensing community, and now with information in hand, the DMLA Google Working Group will begin to craft and propose alternatives to provide more rights clarity for users. 

In the coming weeks, our friends at CEPIC will survey their members, with some additional questions geared to the European market, The DMLA will dig deeper into the survey and report more detailed results with responses filtered by size of licensors and role of respondents. The DMLA, along with CEPIC and the IPTC look forward to working cooperatively with Google Images to better guide users to publishers and licensors of images and videos.