Image management and compliance: How a DAM can help

Virtually every organisation uses imagery. Smaller outfits might only need the occasional royalty-free picture, purchasing it once from a site like Getty and Shutterstock for repeated use and distribution. The more images you use, however, and the more channels you use them on, the more complex sourcing and management become.

In this article, we’ll look at how a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can take the sting out of that complexity.

Understanding the complexities of image sourcing

Design, marketing and advertising teams, for example, often need to use original images for the campaigns they’re running. This will prompt them to create imagery through illustrations or photo shoots, or purchase the rights to an image for exclusive use.

However, subjects of a photo shoot have the right to revoke their consent at any time. After all, they might be using imagery of vulnerable people or parties who might decide, due to sensitive circumstances, that they are no longer comfortable with the distribution of their image.

Using rights-managed images instead doesn’t necessarily make things simpler. The rights to the picture will eventually expire, and with it, your ability to use and distribute it. If you continue to use it in your content, you risk fines, as well as damage to your reputation and your relationships with the parties you sourced the image from.

What happens when the rights to an image expire?

Well, there are a couple of things that can occur, neither of them ideal:

  • You could lose access to the image. This can cause bottlenecks in projects. For example, if you lose access to a photo your stakeholders have approved for a catalogue, you will have to find a new asset and get the necessary sign-off. This can be a time-consuming and often frustrating process, especially if you have multiple stakeholders with differing tastes.
  • You become non-compliant. Using an image you no longer have the rights to can result in fines and/or the third party seeking direct damages from you. Also, this breach may impact your relationship with the third party and how other organisations view you. This is especially true when it comes to the challenges around consent. If, for instance, a person is no longer comfortable with the distribution of their image, they could revoke your right to use it. Without a system to manage your assets with consent, you might continue to use their likeness, breaking trust in your brand.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to avoid these outcomes.

How a DAM can help with image management and compliance

Whether you want to manage your projects better or avoid compliance issues, a digital asset management (DAM) system can help.

Imagine this: you’re working on a campaign with a tight deadline looming. Your designers have found the perfect photo in your image bank. But they don’t realise that the rights to it are due to expire before the campaign goes live.

With a DAM, this isn’t an issue. The automated workflow will notify you of an upcoming expiry date so that you can renew it and your designers don’t lose precious time. And a DAM will give you more control over image access too.

With a DAM, you can:

  • Set license and consent expiry dates within the detailed metadata fields for each image. Then, an automated workflow will send you an alert so you can renew or archive the image. You can even configure how far in advance you want to receive the alert. And, if you don’t change the date, the system will automatically archive the resource once the date is reached.
  • Manage image releases. You may be in the process of obtaining the rights to an image. You can embargo these images from access until a specific date when a workflow will trigger their release into general circulation.
  • Create a workflow that takes expired images out of circulation. This will prevent teams from accessing and using pictures you no longer have the rights to, helping you avoid compliance issues. Instead, the image will be in an archive only authorised personnel can access.
  • Add details to images and their consent records. This can include how the person gave their consent and how long their consent is for. If the picture's subject is underage and you are relying on parental consent, you’ll also need to know when the subject comes of age and when it’s time to update their consent.
  • Link the image with its associated consent. This includes details of the consent, too. So you will be able to access the record of the consent alongside the image (and vice versa) and view all associated documentation, such as the multiple consent records from everyone pictured in a photo. And, if the subject provided their consent by phone, you can store and link the recording.
  • Manage all consent records in one place. This will allow you to easily review and edit existing content records, linking or unlinking them to multiple digital assets. This is especially beneficial when a third party appears in several images and revokes their consent suddenly.
  • Set access permissions. Role-based permissions will give you more control over your digital resources. For instance, you can make it so teams have to request access to certain assets rather than directly downloading them. This means you can review the request and any possible issues with licensing and consent before granting access.

Of course, you may still have questions about consent and license management. You might have a system that can solve all your pain points, but you don’t know how.

The right DAM is more than a software solution. It comes with the advice and support of DAM experts who can help you identify your potential licensing and consent issues and configure a system to keep you both efficient and compliant.

Your image management issues, managed

Image management can mean dealing with multiple complex issues, from revoked consent to expired licenses. But it’s not always straightforward to spot possible problems that could arise. You might misstep if you’re unfamiliar with all the intricacies of image licensing and consent.

A DAM like ResourceSpace comes with the support of experienced consultants who will talk to you about your goals and pain points. We ask questions about how you work and who you work with, as well as how you distribute content—all so we can identify the workflows and features you need. And, as your needs change, we continue to offer our ongoing support—so you can remain efficient and compliant.

Book a demo, or start a conversation with one of our team.