How to License Images through Google

What is a Google Licensable Image?

In June 2020 Google added the facility to display licence details on images returned in Google image search results. Licensable images will be overlaid with a “licensable image” badge, and under the image the text “Get this image on: <Licensor URL> | <Licence details URL>” will be shown – where <Licensor URL> is the URL to the licensor’s website, and <Licence details URL> is a link to the license details.

Where does Google get the license data from?

There are two possible places where Google can source the license information for an image from: 1) structured data in the webpage containing the image, or 2) from metadata embedded in the image itself.

For me, option 2 is easier to implement. The required metadata can be added using Lightroom, or other IPTC utility, and then its always in the image whenever you upload it. There are tools to add structured data to your web pages, but in my experience it is a lot harder to get right.

What Metadata is required?

Google have created a reference document within their web developers search guidance documentation called “Image License in Google Images“.

This describes both the structured data option and the metadata option.

In summary, to use the metadata option, you need to have a minimum of 2 pieces of IPTC metadata embedded in your images. These are:

  • Web Statement of Rights
  • Licensor URL

Web Statement of Rights

This corresponds to the IPTC field “Copyright Info URL”.

To set this on an image in Lightroom, in the “Library” module under “Metadata” choose the “IPTC” option (or the “EXIF and IPTC”):

Then fill in the “Copyright Info URL” field, near to the end of the section, with the URL of the page you want to direct to:

Licensor URL

The Licensor URL is slightly different – it is a property of the metadata object “License”. In Lightroom, you need to select the “IPTC Extension” metadata option, and under the “Rights” section there is a “License” field which expands to a number of properties. These types of objects allow you to add multiple property values.

Once expanded, the Licensor field looks like this, and the URL at the end is the field that needs to be filled in. The URL could take search visitors to a web-based licensing utility, or simply a contact form.

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