While Adobe revealed the latest updates at Adobe MAX earlier this month, they also had a sort of “one more thing,” to quote Steve Jobs.

The Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) — a partnership between Adobe, The New York Times Company and Twitter — aims to develop an industry standard when it comes to content attribution on the web.

“With the proliferation of digital content, people want to know the content they’re seeing is authentic,” said Dana Rao, executive vice president and general counsel for Adobe. “While this is a formidable challenge, we are thrilled to be championing the adoption of an industry-wide content attribution system, along with The New York Times Company and Twitter. It is critical for technology and media companies to come together now in order to empower consumers to better evaluate and understand content online.”

What is CAI?

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about “fake news.” This isn’t just limited to the political spectrum — it also comes into play when you’re talking about altering content like photographs. The ability to provide proper content attribution is critical — for both creators and publishers — to ensure trust and transparency to their audiences.

The three companies are in the midst of working on what exactly CAI will look like. During a brief demo at the Adobe MAX keynote, an example was given that showed a page on Behance. There was a small icon — similar to what you’d see on Twitter verified accounts — that could be clicked. Here, the creator of the photograph was referenced, complete with a name and headshot. From there, users could dive in and see what exactly was altered.

While they showcased this working on Behance, the idea is that CAI will be integrated into several websites, like The New York Times, Twitter and more.

In its most basic form, it was like looking at Lightroom Classic’s or Photoshop’s history tool, and seeing what was edited. The framework is designed to let content creators verify their content before sharing it, making sure they receive proper attribution. At the same time, it gives the general public the ability to look at a medium’s attribution trail, giving them increased confidence about the authenticity of what they’re looking at.

Check out the video below to watch Scott Belsky, chief product officer at Adobe, talk about CAI at the Adobe MAX keynote.

What does this mean for content creators?

As photographers, there’s been talk since the beginning of the digital era about how we can prevent our photographs from being stolen. Some photographers place watermarks on their images, however, these can easily be cropped or removed.

Once CAI launches, these worries should dissipate somewhat. By being able to attach attribution and editing data right from Adobe tools gives us the ability to further protect our images. At the same time, it holds us accountable, as we need to be aware of what is acceptable journalistically and what is more acceptable from a fine art realm.

While it’s still in its early stages, CAI is certainly a leap forward, especially when it comes to journalistic ethics and integrity. Content creators should embrace this new technology when it becomes available, as it can only assist in making sure works are shown in the way they intended.