DAM and asset rights: all you need to know

Asset rights management in the DAM

The marketing and communication departments tend to deal with ever-increasing volumes of assets. These assets are attached to copyrights, but also often to image rights or property rights. How can one find their way around these legal concepts and get organized to deal with them? 


Legal data related to assets 

Managing the copyright of multimedia content can sometimes be very complex, depending on the type of content produced and the contracts signed with the creators. 

It is therefore necessary to properly enter information related to the reproduction rights of images, videos and other assets. To allow DAM users to use the assets without the risk of litigation, the conditions of use, negotiated with the creators, must be clear. This includes the duration of the rights, the authorized media of use, and the territories covered by the rights. 

Indicating the correct copyright to allow the rights holders to be properly credited is a must.

An asset can also have several authors : a photo of an artwork, for example (the author of the photo and the author of the artwork). The DAM should thus be able to handle this kind of information.

For video, it’s the same issue. A film can include additional levels of rights: in addition to the director’s rights, one might also have, for example, the rights to the music used in the film (for advertising in particular).

Each of these rights can have a different duration, media and territories, requiring a very detailed rights management in the DAM. 

Rights and user generated content (UGC)

On social networks, influencers and user communities produce content themselves, often of excellent quality. It is tempting for brands to wish to use these images and videos. However, it is necessary to negotiate the use and the possible remuneration of their authors

Indeed, even if the assets are shared publicly on social media, the authors of the images or videos remain the copyright owners. The people represented on these assets are also owners of the image rights. It is essential to have a written agreement that specifies the distribution media, the duration and the territories covered, just like for traditional copyrights. 

Image rights

The law indicates that the photographer/videographer must obtain the written consent of the people represented before distributing their image. Their agreement must be precise and indicate the duration and the media of diffusion. An agreement is also necessary if the image of the person is reused for a purpose different from the first diffusion.

It is therefore necessary to collect authorizations for image rights signed by the people represented on the assets.

However, employees may be filmed or photographed in the course of their work without their consent. This is only valid if there is no commercial exploitation of the media created.

Model release

The models recruited for photos or films also have rights, generally negotiated for a given period of time, territories covered and specific distribution media.

You must be careful because the use of an image representing a model after the expiration of their rights is prohibited, even if the copyright of the photographer or director is still valid.

Property release

Similarly, a property release must be obtained from the owner of a recognizable asset used in a photo or video for commercial use. When images contain buildings, monuments or works of art, a property release protects against legal claims from the property owner.

DAM and rights management

Legal data management

The DAM gives the opportunity to enter specific data concerning the asset rights: copyright, expiration date of rights, media covered, territories included, etc. This information must be customized to adapt to each type of content (especially if there are several categories of rights to manage for the same asset) and to the specificities of the multimedia assets managed in the DAM.

For example, a food company will not have the image rights issues of a textile company.

Access rights management as a guarantee of a compliant use

DAMs like Keepeek provide features to restrict access to content by user profile. This makes it possible for DAM users to only access the content they can exploit in their context of use. These restrictions can be based on the media covered, the territory or the expiration date of the rights. These rules help limit unauthorized use of the assets

Restrictions on the media covered

This involves defining categories of users according to their use: advertising, press, social media, etc. 

For example, a person from a PR department will only be able to access content authorized for press use. 

Restrictions based on location

Another standard is to restrict users from a country or continent to only access content negotiated for their territory

For example, a user from Argentina will only be able to search and download content that has been licensed for Latin America. 

Restrictions on rights expiration dates

A widely used best practice is to prevent access to assets once their rights have expired. The asset is then automatically archived and inaccessible to users. 

Status restrictions

It is also possible to define specific statuses for categories of assets.

For example, specific photos may be highly confidential prior to the launch of a brand’s flagship product. Of course, these images must be accessible to marketing teams to prepare the launch, but especially not to other teams, partners or service providers. In this case, the assets can be attached to a status that makes them invisible to the majority of users. The assets automatically switch to a standard status at the exact time of the product reveal and becomes accessible to everyone. 

Empowering users

It is highly recommended that users be made aware of these issues in order to hold them accountable for their use of the assets. 

Validating the conditions of use

A good practice is, for example, to get them to validate the conditions of use of an asset before being able to download it: by giving their active consent, the person commits to using the assets within the limits of their permitted uses. 

Notifications to inform of asset rights expiration

Users who have used assets whose rights have expired must be notified to stop using it. Automatic notification mechanisms can be put in place to inform all people who at some point have downloaded assets affected by a rights expiration. 

Download request validation step

In some cases, it is preferable not to allow certain categories of users to download media directly. It is then possible to set up a system of download requests in the DAM, addressed to validators in charge of checking the conformity of the intended use with the acquired rights.

These validation workflows are optimized to make it easy for validators to process a download request in one minute.

Solutions to facilitate rights issues management

New solutions and services have become available to help manage asset rights more easily. Here are a few examples.

Mobile apps for model releases

Until recently, it was quite tedious to obtain the agreements of the people photographed or filmed. It was usually a matter of getting signatures on paper, stored separately from the assets and difficult to source when needed. 

This process has been facilitated, as many have, by the arrival of mobile apps. Easy release and Model releaser allow, from a smartphone, to generate model and property releases and obtain consent from people in a matter of minutes. 

Today, DAMs give the opportunity to link these digital documents directly to photos or videos representing people, making it easier to access the paperwork.

User generated content (UGC) rights management platform 

Applications such as Stackla or Taggbox offer features to obtain and manage copyright and image rights for content created by your customers or users. They make it possible to set up workflows to request permission from content creators for their use in marketing materials. 

Integrations can be made between these applications and your DAM. For example, Keepeek integrates with Stackla to automatically retrieve content negotiated with creators in Stackla. 

Rights clearance services

Companies have specialized in clearing intellectual property used in films, series, clips, documentaries, audiovisual projects or advertising. These elements may be protected by trademark law, copyright, image or name rights. This is the case, for example, of I Mediate Clearance, which we interviewed a few years ago to obtain their insight into asset rights. 

Asset rights and the Keepeek DAM

Keepeek can help you set up an efficient rights management for your assets. Contact us to discuss with our experts and get an online demo!