A critical aspect of online content management has to do with copyright compliance. Once an image has been created, it belongs to an individual such as a photographer or content creator.

The Internet offers an unspeakable quantity of images which, together with the ease of sharing, creates the temptation to make indiscriminate and uncontrolled use of them. Let's clarify one aspect immediately: companies and institutions must be very careful to use only images and videos for which they have the right of use, otherwise they may run into legal disputes.

In this article we will touch on some interesting questions for those who work in the communication sector, specifically:

  • What are the copyrights on the photos
  • How to protect images with watermark
  • How to manage copyright with digital asset management

Copyright on photos: what they are and how to manage them.

The occasions that require the publication of images are numerous, let's think of communication activities such as blog articles or social network posts. The need to find visual content is strong, but which images on the web can be used freely?

We assume that the creator of an image owns the copyright. Simple photographs, for example those portraying people or aspects of daily life, ensure the author the exclusive right of reproduction and dissemination for 20 years. The situation is even more complicated for photographic works, which are characterized by their creative aspect and by the recognisability of the author's intervention. In this case, the relative rights of economic use expire only 70 years after the death of the author, as photographs of this type are considered by the law as other creative works.

In general, freely using images published online is not allowed, unless you have obtained the author's prior consent. The latter may decide to grant the use of their works free of charge in certain contexts, assigning them the creative commons license.

Buying the rights to use the images sold by photo agencies allows companies and organizations to be in good standing from a legal point of view, but it is not enough. In fact, licenses must also be managed, in order to respect their deadlines and types of use.

Use the watermark to protect against unauthorized use of online content

Often the illicit behavior of those who use images without having their permission remains without consequences because, in fact, it is very difficult to become aware of the abuse, given the vastness of the network.

Sometimes, however, authors protect their work with graphic tricks, for example by affixing a watermark. It is a text, logo or pattern superimposed on the image, which validates its ownership and makes the photo essentially unusable.

Watermarking acts as a deterrent to the theft of intellectual property and makes the author recognizable, favoring the tracking and traceability of images.

Only the actual purchase of the work allows you to obtain the image without watermark. As already highlighted, the purchased contents cannot always be used for unlimited periods and on any channel, therefore they require special tools to help keep track of usage rights.

Copyright protection on photos with digital asset management

In cases where images or videos are created within the company, their use may be more or less free, depending on the company policy. Otherwise, if an asset comes from outside and is used for a commercial purpose, we must ask ourselves about the concrete possibility of use. We think of sharing an image to be used as part of a marketing campaign. If its origin is the web or uncertain and the fees for its use have not been paid, there could be serious consequences.

The use of digital asset management software solves the problems related to copyright management. Basically, in copyright management, aspects are considered such as the possibility of publishing the material outside the company, even for advertising purposes, or if it is material for internal use. For photos purchased from image banks, the duration of the right of use and the channels on which publication is permitted are tracked.

The same discourse extends to the management of image rights, that is, the possibility of publishing photos in which people are recognizable. All content should be described in the digital archive with an indication of compliance with the privacy policy, correlating the documentation certifying the release of consent to the publication of the image by the person portrayed. If you want to learn more about copyright protection through digital asset management, contact us! You will discover additional features of the DAM software to add value to multimedia assets.

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