Microsoft's My Pictures

Microsoft's My Pictures technology is described in their MSDN online Web Workshop article My Pictures Photo Support. The quotes on the rest of this page (shown in italics) are from this article, unless otherwise noted.
Link opens in new window My Pictures Photo Support

What it is

My Pictures is a simple feature that allows users to more easily save, print, and email images found in web pages, without having to right-click the image. The My Pictures user interface is a small set of common buttons that appear in a hovering toolbar when a user mouses over an image.

With me, this raises a number of questions, the most important one being who would have a need for this new feature. And why is right-clicking such a problem all of a sudden? After all, right-clicking an object in order to open a list of actions that can be performed on it is a time-honored convention in the Microsoft user interface. Why change it?

Why it may be a problem

This feature is not intended to be used with every image found on a Web page. This feature is intended for images that adhere to one or more of the following guidelines: images that are greater than 130 pixels wide by 130 pixels high; high resolution images, such as a digital photograph; web galleries of scanned photos and images; other images specifically intended for download by the web page developer.

And here we're getting to the real problem. About every image on the web is copyrighted, unless its creator has explicitly placed it in the public domain. Many graphics websites have terms of use that prohibit redistribution of their images. Other images specifically intended for download by the web page developer suggests that all images in web galleries and such are by definition intended for download, which simply isn't true.

If the images were only downloaded for personal use there would be no problem. If these images get posted on websites, or e-mailed all over the place without credit to the authors, there is a problem. The My Pictures technology makes this easier to do than ever. In my opinion Microsoft has a responsibility to promote awareness of copyright issues, and to encourage their users to use this technology in a responsible way.

What to do about it

On the user end, right-click the mouse on the toolbar when the toolbar is being displayed and click, "Disable image toolbar". Alternatively, go to the Advanced tab of the Internet Options which is located on the Tools menu. Uncheck the "Enable Image Toolbar" checkbox and click the OK button.

Opt-out or opt-in

A web developer is able to turn this feature off on a page-by-page basis, using the HTTP-EQUIV and CONTENT attributes of the meta element. Setting HTTP-EQUIV="imagetoolbar" and CONTENT="no" (or false) disables the image toolbar for the entire page. (...) A Web developer is able to turn this feature off on an image-by-image basis using the GALLERYIMG attribute of the IMG element. To do this, set the GALLERYIMG attribute to no or false.

I'm probably lucky, since all my images are either background images (which are on Microsoft's list of images not to use this feature with) or smaller than 130x130 pixels. Otherwise, if I wanted to opt out of this feature, I'd have to add Microsoft-specific meta-tags to all of my pages to disable it. This is another thing that bothers me. These things should be opt-in, not opt-out.

More information

More links can be found in my weblog:
On-site link, opens in this window 01/06/16 Microsoft (4)

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