XMP is the format Creative Commons recommends for embedding metadata (such as licensing information) in most media file types. Frankly there isn’t much competition — embedded metadata is poorly supported, formats are balkanized, and nobody save Adobe (XMP’s developer) has had the willingness to work on a problem that can only be solved over many years (programmers have to build support into software people actually use) and a platform to drive initial adoption.
Fortunately Adobe’s long term efforts are paying off. More and more software supports reading and embedding XMP with more and more file formats. This only makes sense, as more and more people have the need to manage huge media collections that previously only media houses such as ad agencies needed.
Equally fortunately, Adobe continues to make the right moves toward keeping XMP open, ensuring it continues progressing toward being the universal means of embedding metadata in media files. Last year Adobe released the XMP software development kit under the permissive BSD software license. This directly enabled Creative Commons’ liblicense to use some of this code.
Now Adobe’s XMP product manager Gunar Penikis blogs that Adobe has posted a royalty free public patent license for XMP:
This will further remove barriers to the adoption and use of XMP and a metadata standard across our partner solutions and ecosystems. Which is really exciting because better interoperability results in a better customer experience when media is exchanged across applications and services.
This is especially welcome news for the free/open source software world, including again, the code Creative Commons develops — software patents can block development and distribution of open code (e.g., see media codecs), so it is reassuring that Adobe has added a patent license to its openness strategy for XMP.
Thanks to Adobe! Incidentally, Gunar Penikis spoke about XMP at the CC technology summit held in June. See the summit page for slides and video.