Asset Liability And Accessibility Trade-Offs In DAM

David Diamond, Marketing Director of Picturepark and author of the DAM Survival Guide has written an article for CMSWire: Digital Liability Management.  The item is about dealing with the complexity of asset licences when storing digital assets inside DAM systems, especially when using media from third party sources that are not the intellectual property of the organisation you work for:

For the most part, the asset licenses you need to concern yourself with most are those attached to the assets you’ve acquired from external sources. The first step to ensuring you never violate these licenses actually has nothing to do with your DAM software. You first need to fully understand the licenses for the assets in your possession. Only then will you be able to configure your DAM to reflect those restrictions.” [Read More]

There are many good points in this piece and it should be required reading for anyone who has a DAM system (or develops them for that matter too).

I am consistently surprised how little awareness of this subject there is of this among DAM users.  A number of staff do not understand that you cannot just start using images and other content like it is in the public domain.  This gets worse when the assets are stored in DAM systems as there is an implicit assumption that everything therein is owned by the organisation just because they provide the delivery mechanism.

The situation does improve in marketing departments where they already deal with third party assets from stock media libraries but it does appear to be fraying at the edges now there is a newer generation of staff who are used to their peers ripping images and posting them on Facebook or Twitter etc without thinking about copyright.

One trend which I expect to see gathering pace now that orphan works legislation has been made law in the UK is asset suppliers not only embedding metadata but also requiring purchasers to ensure that their copyright is always prominently displayed, their metadata is always retained.   It will be interesting to see how this interacts with some of the usage approval workflow features in DAM systems and how that impacts the complexity and sophistication of these features as time goes on.  I would not be completely surprised if some larger libraries mandate that media files cannot actually be stored in third party DAM systems unless prior consent is obtained in order to limit their risk.  How much leverage they have over the market to do this is uncertain, but for some in-demand material I cannot imagine it has not been considered.

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