The importance of DAM, systems and methods that maximize productivity in the creative process is increasingly recognized by leading organizations across all product and service sectors. Digital asset Management is not any more an archive of assets as it was 10 years ago for most of costumers managing their assets on a file server but it is now the unique source of truth for the whole organization that has to be streamlined across all the communication channels, web, social, print : the buz word now is the omnichannel technology stackSee the Real story Group graphics) but this is the reality in fact and after years a nightmare for any decision maker to select the right DAM

At the really short begining of my career by agencies I was playing with FullPress, Extensis, Cumulus, DALIM, Fotoware, Orphea, some open source solution like Phraseanet and them moving to some more robust and modern DAM like CELUM. But now for any brand you have at least 50 DAM that can do the job for basic scenarios like photo library or even brand and marketing management.

So ok the UIUX is a key point for the customer engagement so any DAM system without a modern web framework (drag and drop, responsiveness…) haven’t to be part of a RFP. Today I’m even more a witness of that move as working close to brands as an independant consultant writing RFP and helping them to select the right DAM.

But what happens to a Brand when he wants to control the usage of his assets from the print to the web ? How he can be sure that each country is using the right asset at the right time ? Today DAM is enough mature to be able control the user rights of the assets or a collection that has to shared with the stakeholders for approval. Beyong that it is important to add the rights management which is is a method to ensure proper usage of licensed content. 

For instance, a marketing campaign involves today a lot of rich media that need to be controlled. From pictures to video and everything in between, each element can have contractual usage rights based on geography, schema, etc. It is important for the brand to track content rights for all the assets at the top of the DAM. It can be complexed and a main bottleneck for the creative workflow ie the different stages of the content lifecycle. It is important to say that customers have to face these new challenges, they have to use different content in different context because one thing is much more important than anything else for brands and retailers, the content, in this new digital edge content is king !

All the stakeholders in the creative process have to be compliant with usage rights based on the copyright. Now in the new area of marketing and advertising it is even more complex. The contract with the content can also change during the approval process, how to be sure to share the right content with the right rights ? The simple example of a photo shooting is a good one just because the licence of a model will not be the same in all the countries. For the same country the rights might not be the same if it is a video…

Something I advise you to do is to ingest your credit and copyright first in the IPTC fields of your images, this is more than any security you can get and can be used but the technologies we will see further. On my side I’m a 20 years old user of Fotostation from FotoWare and it looks like that :

If you are a photographer you can also register your credit direct in your DSLR :

So for any marketing or advertising manager it is so important to take care of the image of the brand, it is part of what we call the brand consitency because you cannot put a brand at risk for a lawsuit. It can be a desaster for the image and the business espcially today with the social communication. 

This is the clear representation of all challenges for fashion and luxury brands or retailers today and any DAM solution has to provide a simple integration for the rights management to save time and cost. And unfortunately this is not the case, most vendors are trying to fix and bring some complexity to demonstrate that they can do the job most of time based on complex metadata layout. It might work sometimes in very simple use case. But most of the time you have very advanced multiple variables to manage. The purpose and the difference of a real rights management solution is to make hierarchies of rules.

We know that Digital Asset Management gives organizations the capability to ingest, organize, filter and securely share assets so they can be used efficiently. After that statement it is easy to understand how rights management provides critical rights clearance information to customers so they know what assets they can and can’t use in different countries as for example. Vendors have to seat down with the customers to understand which benefit they can bring and instead of trying to setup some features and then trying to sell them. It simply doesn’t work.

The integration between digital asset management software and rights management technology has to be smart in order to allow organizations to be more effective in managing their content while reducing the risk of violating copyright regulations.

We can draw a strategy for your DAM system regarding the rights management :

  • Discovery of all your digital content ( pictures, video, music…)
  • Inventory of all agreements across the countries.
  • Rights management has to be part of the governance of the company or check the GDPR regulation in Europe.
  • Then you can start integration with your DAM system.
  • Create a taxonomy to manage the hierarchies of rules.
  • Set up your workflow to start the rights automation beyond the assets themselves.
  • Last but not least, KPI and B.I tools to measure the efficiency of your omnichannel campaigns.

So I do think this is the right path to take and your brand can feel more secure driven by a smart rights management technology at the top of a DAM. As a consultant I will advise to add this requirement in your RFP it is now mandatory.

During #DAMNY 2019 we had the opportunity to get more information during the TechLab session with Devon Weston from Digimarc

« Covering Your Assets: Empowering Brand Owners to Track Images Beyond DAM ».

Davon was demonstratating how Digimarc Barcode for Digital Images is a powerful solution enabling brands, rights holders and digital-asset managers to better manage the use of images and other assets throughout the supply chain and across the public internet. 

One other great technology demonstrated during the last #DAMNY 2019 was IMATAG

It works in 3 steps :

  • Tagging to provide an advanced Image ID (Unique patented invisible watermark supported by powerful visual recognition)
  • Smart Crawling : monitoring millions of public websites with powerful recognition algorithm searching for your assets in millions of images found everyday. Images are recognized even if cropped, flipped, grayscale, colorized, screenshots
  • Reporting with a comprehensive view across all channels of where, how and by whom your assets are being used.

They already have som DAM integration like WediaOrphea… Paul Melcher, Business Development, IMATAG was demonstrating the technology with Michael Iulo, Marketing & Production, WEDIA

I advise you to read their blog article about « State of Image Metadata in New Sites 2019 »

These technologies can really help companies to keep track of their media assets from creation to distribution and digital delivery.

One of the last technology which more or less becomes a standard since the last years is FADEL. They were unveiling again during #DAM NY 2019 Content Eye – Content Tracking & Compliance in order to track published content across brand, e-commerce, social and partner websites and verify compliance status.

Fadel is now integrated in a couple of DAM systems like opentext, Mediabeacon, Aprimo, Extensis, Adobe and even with Box…

Along side the Digital Transformation users rights mangement is a key strategic point for any customers in order to control what happens to company’s media assets.

Frédéric SANUY

DAM Expert