It’s been quite a week for anyone engaged in the development of digital asset management systems, with changes on all fronts that could affect the way DAM vendors build their systems and comply with changing national and international copyright and IPR legislation. First, we reported on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) with a warning to DAM vendors that this secretive legislation could impact on them, in particular vendors who host DAM systems and digital content on behalf of clients. It seems that proposals in the agreement would go far beyond those provided by TRIPS (the copyright, patent and trademark provisions outlined in the WTO agreement) creating an new realm of liability for any service provider. In a nutshell, vendors could become wholly responsible for the protection of their clients’ IPR and liable for any infringement made via their systems. A sobering thought for any hosting services provider.
If that wasn’t enough to contend with, the debate continues to rage over whether DAM vendor products are truly compatible with Apple’s iPad or not. MediaBeacon still claims that their system is the only DAM system that offers any ‘real’ compatibility with the iPad, whereas some industry analysts in the streaming media sector claim that “not having Flash working on the iPad is not that big of a deal for Adobe” and therefore many of the DAM vendors that have chosen Flash/Flex to base their UIs on.
So, will DAM vendors have to bite the bullet and upgrade their systems to support alternative technologies, such as HTML 5.0? If only it were that simple, as we reported last month, there is division within that camp also with multiple codecs being supported in different browsers, Apple and Google backing H.264 whereas Mozilla, Opera and Google supporting the open source Ogg Theora.
What remains to be seen is how many DAM vendors will suspend development on Flash based interfaces and switch to AJAX and HTML5 in particular. Many vendors must now be facing a “Hobson’s Choice” scenario between second-guessing the technology which will gain prominence versus a hedging strategy that tries to cover all bases and a corresponding increase in costs which they must either bear themselves or attempt to recover from clients. These are confusing (but fascinating) times for the Digital Asset Management industry.