Google’s new licensable images features: Towards a new era in image licensing

We are happy to announce that Google has launched a new licensable badge on Google Images, in addition to other related features and metadata.

This was announced on Google’s blogs here:


The principle of the licensable badge on Google Images was discussed with Google in 2017 at a meeting with the Board of CEPIC in Berlin. It was presented by Google as an upcoming product feature for the first time in May 2019 at the CEPIC Congress in Paris. The collection of features is the product of a collaboration between Google, CEPIC, IPTC and other organisations, including DMLA in the United States.

The licensable images features also include the displays of rights holder information from both structured data fields on the HTML pages of the source website and in the IPTC metadata in the image file. These pieces of information link users to the licensor of the image.

The licensable images features are intended to inform people which images on the search results page have a known licensor associated with them. This allows users to discover legal rights holders directly from Google image and facilitate an easier path for them to license images. The new features can also be applied by customers or publishers who have purchased an image to direct users back to the licensing website in a way that was not possible before.

One goal of the licensable images features is to educate users that there are licensing requirements in relation to images. It is anticipated that the links from the badge will drive qualified traffic to the website of rights owners, when they have made information available in the required way. CEPIC sees this as a positive move which maintains the connection between the image and its right holder in the online environment.

Alfonso Gutierrez, President of CEPIC, says:

“A collaboration between Google and CEPIC, which started some four years ago, has ensured that authors and rightsholders are identified on Google Images. Now, the last link of the chain, determining which images are licensable, ready to be implemented thanks to our fruitful collaboration with Google.

We are thrilled at the window of opportunities that are opening up for photography agencies and the wider image industry due to this collaboration.

Thanks, Google.”

What is being launched

  • Licensable badge on participating Google images search results (participation defined by image license markup or IPTC metadata)
  • Two new links in the Image Viewer (the window that appears when a user selects an image result) for people to access licensing information provided, namely:

○ “License details”/terms link. This directs users to a page defined by the content owner explaining how to license and use the image responsibly

○ “Get this image on” link, which directs users to a page from the content owner where users can directly take the necessary steps to license the image

  • Usage rights drop-down filter in Google Images to support filtering image search results for Creative Commons or commercial and other licenses

Participation instructions & support

 <Link to the developer documentation>

<Link to the Webmaster forum>