MakerNotes metadata deleted in exported files

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As I was investigating my previous question, I was wondering what metadata is outputted to exported files. It turns out that the "Lens" field gets the value shown in Lightroom, not the (possibly different) value actually embedded in a JPEG master file. This is perhaps what one would expect. But I also see that the entire block of metadata "MakerNotes" is deleted from exported files, even if you set "Include: All Metadata."

Is this a known feature/bug? I certainly was surprised that information the camera puts into an image doesn't survive the export process in Lightroom.
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Alan Harper

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Posted 8 months ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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LR has never exported the  non-standard, manufacturer-specific MakerNotes, unfortunately.

Perhaps one reason is that the internal format of many cameras' MakerNotes is position-dependent. That is, the MakerNotes contain internal file pointers that are relative to the beginning of the file.  If you copy that MakerNotes block to another position in the file, all those internal file pointers are invalid. The more enlightened cameras use position-independent file pointers that are relative to the beginning of the MakerNotes block, making it possible to copy to another file location.

Hard to believe that camera engineers would design their MakerNotes to be position-dependent, but such is life...

ExifTool goes to some trouble to handle position-dependent MakerNotes correctly, fixing up all the internal file pointers appropriately for each different camera, but that's not the sort of thing Adobe would ever take on, for two reasons. First, it's expensive to track the format of each new camera coming onto the market -- manufacturers tend to use the same format across their line, but it needs to be checked and tested carefully.  Second, Adobe's legal department apparently takes the position that manufacturer-specific metadata is "proprietary" and can't be read without getting contractural permission from the manufacturer.  I've read allusions to this on this forum, but I haven't seen it explained in detail and haven't found authoritative discussions about such legal interpretations.