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Digital rights management (DRM) is a serious and important aspect of business in today's world, and marketing professionals need to familiarize themselves with it not only for legal implications but also for financial reasons.

Yet, the importance of DRM's correct usage is often misunderstood, underestimated, or neglected.

Digital Rights Management Defined

Digital content—illustrations, photos, videos, and other graphics—is used all the time by organizations to augment their communications, written content, and marketing collateral.

DRM has two goals: to provide security for creative works and to avoid damage claims for a company using those works without permission.

Because of the prolific creation of digital content and the demand and urgency for its use, knowing when, where, and how you are allowed to use your creative content legally is key. One violation, and your company could find itself in costly legal trouble.

How Does Infringement Happen?

As a marketing professional, you have surely used photos and videos to illustrate collateral, websites, and other marketing materials. But inadvertent infringement could happen easily when, for example, your staff copies content without an explicit license agreement.

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Leslie Weller is director of marketing for digital asset management firm Canto, which helps marketers, brand managers, product managers, and content managers make better use of massive amounts of digital content.

LinkedIn: Leslie Weller

Twitter: @Leslie_Weller