How to Right Your Wrongs with Usage Rights
In a traditional linear model, managing rights was relatively straightforward because brands/marketers relied on their creative agencies to negotiate and manage the usage rights associated with assets produced. Let’s talk about the production landscape, and in particular, the new issues that arise from a “new” landscape where agencies are no longer production and talent rights gatekeepers, but clients have to manage themselves with in house, multiple agencies and direct to the producer!
Also, repurposing assets and combining any of the above elements, it becomes complex to monitor and stay in compliance with usage rights owed to actors, models, stock footage, and music entities. Implementing a Rights Management Strategy can minimize the risk of costly usage and intellectual property rights violations and can eliminate the need to track down contracts that can delay the creative process each time assets are repurposed.
Centralized rights are licensed based on time in the market, geographical territory, media, and exclusivity (exact terminology and standards may differ for various elements of a campaign.) For example, while an advertiser holds ownership rights to all footage shot for a video, it is likely that rights to other elements of the video, such as on-camera and voiceover talent, stock imagery and music will have limited terms for anything outside of the original use.
How to Get Ahead of These Challenges:
Taking the time to proactively establish asset guidelines and a rights management strategy will provide assurances for ongoing brand security and mitigate potential risks.
1. Create and Implement a Rights Management Strategy for consistency within an organization.
2. Develop an Integrated Production Toolkit to include expectations.
3. Create infrastructure to allow for global and local markets to reuse and repurpose existing content.
4. Centralize and streamline an internal approval process to clear assets, reduce the risk of usage violations and ensure content reaches the market quickly.
5. Evaluate the investment to produce new content vs. % of repurposed assets to determine the value, benefits, and ROI.
Additional Best Practices to Adopt into Your Ways of Working:
Include the expectations in all creative briefs (strategy for usage rights negotiation may vary based on tiers, markets, and products).
Remember that licensed agreements are between the advertiser and the artist/vendor creating the work and do not automatically extend to third party partnerships unless specified in the upfront negotiation.
Consider exclusivity definitions and requirements.
Ensure all licensed assets are covered for the same usage.
Use clear language. Terms are not necessarily consistent across disciplines or markets.
Create options for extending use at the time of the initial negotiation.
Understand if any unions govern the collective bargaining terms of an agreement.
For work for hire agreements, consider creating a brand agreement for vendors to sign.
Track all contracts and terms in a central location.
Ensure usage rights are built into the metadata of an asset and integrated into your DAM library.
Set up a process for review of all assets coming up for renewal 30-60 days prior to the expiration. A process chart outlining rights management strategy.
Providing one central repository for assets (Digital Asset Management/Content Management System with a dedicated librarian.
Media Checklists and social specs to ensure content is captured in the correct formats during the production of assets.
Campaign Asset Tracker to house all terms and agreements with each individual artist, vendor, and agent.
We hope this was helpful, please contact us if you have any questions!
Authored by: Cindy Epps, Gaytana Carrino, and Jillian Gibbs, APR