PLUS is an international standard for clearly and unambiguously communicating usage rights for digital images, making it easier to manage image rights using automated or manual processes. The PLUS standards allow rights metadata to travel within image files using XMP, and to be efficiently stored and accessed in all types of databases and applications.
PLUS is also an astonishing demonstration of democracy, tenacity, passion and mutual understanding – the result of many years of hard work and contribution from a plethora of sources. We believe it to be an outstanding example of international cooperation and communication. The latest PLUS newsletter puts this success into perspective:
“PLUS has achieved what some believed was impossible. Photographers, illustrators, publishers, designers, art buyers, picture editors, museums, librarians, artist reps, stock agencies, standards bodies, attorneys, educators, archivists and application developers joined forces and cooperatively developed a universal language for image licensing. As a result, the PLUS standards support any and all image licensing models, and will benefit every professional involved in creating, distributing, using or preserving images, for many years to come.”
And the PLUS coalition is being very successful.
As photographers, the ability to control our copyright is critical and we should all be very concerned about how our photos are being used (or abused). In the professional environment it’s absolutely essential that both the photographer and the client understand the usage rights that are being licensed. PLUS solves this issue - it’s the future of digital imagery licensing.
Impassioned by what PLUS had to offer I started to work on a plug-in that would allow me to integrate a PLUS workflow into Lightroom.
PLUS for Lightroom1 allows photographers to create PLUS licenses and to embed them into their images. When starting this project Timothy carefully examined all the metadata fields that PLUS provides and considered the ideal workflow within Lightroom. The result is a plug-in that’s designed for photographers that use Lightroom as their primary cataloging tool. Images are imported without PLUS metadata (straight from the memory card), and are exported with the appropriate embedded PLUS license for passing on to a client (or even for posting on the web with as an unlicensed creation2).
With this in mind I decided to split the PLUS fields into two groups, image specific metadata and license specific metadata. The image specific metadata (associated model releases, image ID, etc.) is entered and maintained from the Library module’s Metadata panel; it is not expected to change on a license per license basis. The license itself is defined at the moment of export, using the Export dialog. Those familiar with PLUS will find themselves right at home, with the ability to use the PLUS Packs, the Media Matrix and existing summary codes.
During export the PLUS metadata – both image and license specific – is embedded into each image. It’s a post-processing plug-in (like LR/Mogrify 2, for example) so it can be used in conjunction with an export plug-in.