Protect Your Images with Copyright Metadata (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at a technique for creating a metadata preset to hold your copyright information. Metadata presets are a great way to rubber stamp your images with all the important information you want, including your name, your copyright information, website, contact information, etc. Creating the preset is a one time effort, but in the end you still have to apply it to each and every image, by hand, one at a time.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate some of this? I’m glad you asked! Photoshop has some very nice features that will allow us to completely automate this process – you’ll be amazed! Every image you open in Photoshop will automatically have your copyright data embedded, without you having to remember to do it!

Note: This is an intermediate level Photoshop exercise, but I’ve given you all the steps, and this is a one-time exercise – if you set this up once, you’re set for as long as Photoshop remains on your machine.

Without further ado, let’s begin this process, where we left off in the previous exercise. Recall that we have created a metadata preset within Photoshop, containing our copyright data (my preset is named MJH2009). In this next part, we will use two techniques to complete our automation wizardry:

  1. Create an action that will apply our preset in one click;
  2. Install an Event Listener to run our action automatically – with no intervention whatsoever!

If this sounds complicated – it isn’t! Follow these steps and you’ll fix it and forget it – all your images will be protected automatically, with nothing for you to remember. So, let’s get started:

Step 1: Record an action adding the metadata template to a document:

  • With any document open…
  • In the actions panel (Window > Actions), click the Create New Action icon:


  • Name your action (i.e. "MyCopyright2009").
  • Pick the Set in which you want to store your action (I used Mike’s Actions).
  • Click Record.


At this point, the action is recording, and waiting for you to make a move… everything you do will be remembered until you stop recording, to be repeated at any time later.

Step 2: Walk through the steps we used in Part 1 to add metadata with our template:

  • Select from the menu (not via keyboard shortcut) File > File Info…
  • Choose your template from the flyout triangle just to the left of the OK button, as we did in the previous exercise.


  • Click on the option to keep original metadata, but append matching properties from template.


  • Click OK – You’re done!


Step 3: Now end the recording to complete your action

  • Click the "Stop Playing/Recording" icon in the actions panel:


OK, our action is complete! At any time, you can open the actions panel and select your action, click “play” and it will add the metadata automatically.

I don’t know about you, but I’m too lazy to leave it at that – we need to take it to the next level, using an Event Listener to run this action every time we open a document… automatically, with no user intervention!

Here’s how we’ll add the Event Listener:

Step 1: Enable the Events Manager for the activity of your choosing (let’s start with the activity being a “New Document,” which means this will run whenever we use the command File > New…):

  • Choose File > Scripts > Scripts Events Manager…
  • Check the checkbox for Enable Events to run Scripts/Actions


Step 2: Set the options to run our action every time a new document is opened:

  1. In the "Photoshop Event" dropdown, choose the event where you want to trigger the action: New Document in this case.
  2. Click the radio button for "Action" and choose your action, i.e. MyCopyright2009 from the list
  3. Click Add (don’t click "Done” yet!):


Notice that the event is added to the list.


Step 3: Now we’ll add another event listener for File>Open… you’ll have to add a second items to the list for Open Document. If you add it to Open Document, it will trigger every time an existing file is opened.

  1. In the "Photoshop Event" dropdown, choose the event where you want to trigger the action: Open Document in this case.
  2. Ensure the radio button for "Action" is still active, and your action, i.e. MyCopyright2009 is still listed.
  3. Click Add as before.

Here is the Event Manager after adding the action to both New Document and Open Document events:


  • Now, click Done, and… you are done!

At this point, if you’re still with me, Photoshop is now on full autopilot – appending your copyright metadata to all of your images, on the fly, behind the scenes, without you having to lift a finger (or even remember to do it). Now, that’s what I call productive laziness!

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