“We all need to care about Copyright Management”

Abbie Enock is CEO at digital asset management company Capture Ltd, and a Board Member of the Copyright Hub Foundation. This is an edited version of the talk she gave at the Ardito Project Workshop on Digital Identifiers in Barcelona last month.

For us at Capture, copyright management and Digital Asset Management (DAM) are synonymous.

Capture has always been a digital asset and business ecosystem for managing content and its associated IP.

Our clients range across the whole rights spectrum – from content creators, and agents managing and selling that content, through to content consumers such as global publishers – and individuals researching material across the internet.

They include a large footprint in the cultural sector – Natural History Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Museums Greenwich, British Library, Chicago History Museum, – but also other organisations such as VisitBritain and Wimbledon.

How we work with the Copyright Hub

At Capture we’re always in pursuit of copyright protection and recognition. So both our Media Manager service and our Capture Vault service allow assets to be registered with services that help protect their copyright.

The Copyright Hub is one such service and we are committed to integrating others as well.

Once a client is registered with the Copyright Hub, when an image is uploaded to our system, we in turn tell the Hub about the image and obtain a HubKey for it. We then embed the HubKey in the image metadata, both in the IPTC Extension field Registry Entry (XMP = RegistryID) AND the Copyright field.

That means that wherever this image is found, there is always a way to identify who the owner of that image is, using the Hub ecosystem as an intermediary between the user who found the asset and our client who owns it and can license it.

Good practices for DAM

For us doing things like registering assets with services like the Copyright Hub is just good practice and insurance for the future, and that is why we want to do it for our clients. We also encourage and apply other measures that we think are simply good practice:

Really know your metadata. We are familiar with all the nuances of XMP and IPTC.
Know how to avoid ever stripping metadata.
Be absolutely expert at data migration and management. There is no better time, for example, to clean everything up than when bringing it into a new DAM system.
Use machine-readable rights and identifiers. This allows for more automation and frictionless transactions.
Keep abreast of all the metadata initiatives. If it is being discussed, we want to know about it.
Build systems to metadata standards. The Copyright Hub is leading the way with this.

Exciting and complex future

There are a lot of initiatives and products coming onto the market that could help content owners protect and exploit their assets. Things like automated image recognition, leading to auto-tagging and image tracking and security. There are a number of companies out there who offer these services and at Capture we are currently carrying out a study to assess the best fit for our clients.

A big part of our job is to stay abreast of these sorts of developments, simplify the complexity and offer a comprehensive service to our clients.

DAMs as evangelisers

Often DAM companies are enablers. We are leading the way and making recommendations to our clients. So we need to know what we are talking about and support initiatives that promote respect for copyright and enhance the ability of our clients to control and exploit their work.

We have to be experts, and know what our clients need before they do.

We have to put best practices in place, like the Copyright Hub integration, even when our clients don’t seem to want or appreciate them. We think they will, in time.

We have to make it easy – and free if possible – to adopt standards.

Which means that we shouldn’t always be just market-driven. These other considerations are also important.