Warning, Dangerous Keywords

Extreme keywording is unlikely to make it into the next X Games, but make no mistake, when keywording editorial/celebrity images and video it can be dangerous.

In  particular, it is possible to defame real people when keywords, or captions, suggest impropriety or criminality.

For instance, in the drive to make images seem more sensational, it is tempting to suggest a celebrity is drunk, out of it, or even squiffy.  As a client mentioned to us recently "unless you've got a blood test you don't know if someone is drunk or drugged".  We couldn't agree more.

Romance is another area fraught with difficulty.  Suggesting a married man is with a girlfriend could have repercussions for his marriage, and land you with a law suit.

Even when not trying, you can inadvertently suggest immoral activity.  We once saw a caption from a photographer which suggested that a world famous singer was a paedophile by saying he took a 13-year-old girl up to his room and they seemed to be "very good friends".

Even if keywords aren't defamatory, they can still cause upset.  Keywords such as fat and obese might be accurate, but could be considered offensive.  This is a judgement call of course.  Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade.

Obscenities and swear words are also best avoided insofar as they are in bad taste and seem unprofessional.

The best way to avoid dangerous metadata is to have images and videos keyworded professionally, or at the very least give photographers/videographers very clear guidelines of what is and isn't allowed.  A good rule of thumb is to imagine what you might think if you you were in the picture and read the keywords or caption.  If you think you'd be reaching for the telephone to call your lawyers, then there may well be a problem.