Digital Rights Management, Meet Digital Asset Management

Digital Rights Management
October 17, 2022
Digital Rights Management, Meet Digital Asset Management

Digital rights management (DRM) is how you control access to copyrighted assets. This can include your own assets and branding, but it can also relate to other entity’s rights. For example, digital rights management can ensure that assets related to a spokesperson, a musician, or the branding of a company you’ve partnered with are all used the way they should be.

Let’s say you have an image in your digital asset management system. That one image can have multiple digital rights issues at play. For example:

  • The image is part of a top-secret campaign that can only be seen by a few people prior to its release date.
  • It features three different models, each of whom have specific model releases.
  • The image uses an anniversary-themed variant of your logo that can only be used for one year. 
  • The image is approved for use in North America, but not in other regions.

If your DAM has digital rights management features, you can organize your assets and protect them at the same time.

Why is Digital Rights Management important?

There’s more than one reason to protect your digital rights.

Brand security

It’s important to make sure your brand assets are consistent and on-brand, even if that brand changes over time. DRM can help ensure your content is consistent across channels. It can also prevent users from distributing assets that haven’t been approved yet.


Using the wrong asset at the wrong time can open a business up to a host of legal woes. And assets can have multiple features to consider — the models featured, the music for videos, the colors, the logos, and so much more. For example, one telecom company was sued just for using the wrong font on a landing page.


If your DAM software has to comply with regulations — a hospital complying with HIPAA is a good example — certain assets have to be carefully protected. 

How does digital rights management work in a DAM?

Some digital asset management systems have prioritized rights management features. Here are a few examples of how DAM can help you manage asset rights:


Setting which departments, groups or individuals can see an asset is only the beginning. An enterprise DAM can offer a host of granular controls that let you manage who can access assets. Make sure your permissions let you control:

  • Format: Some permissioning systems allow you to set the resolution or format for an asset. For instance, you could only allow general users to see lower-resolution proxies rather than giving them access to the original format.
  • Download: Don’t want an asset to get out? Set permissions to stop users from downloading.
  • Share: If you have sensitive assets, you can keep them safe by limiting who can share them.
  • Visibility: A change to visibility class or status can quickly move assets into — or out of — the public eye. For instance, you could prevent assets from being shared if they don’t have an “Approved” visibility.

Embargo / Expiration Dates

Rights management often amounts to time management. Knowing when an asset can be safely used is half the battle in shielding a company from liability. DAM software can help by letting you set — and forget — dates for releasing or removing assets from view. The asset management system can do the work by changing access automatically when dates arrive.

Some DAM systems even have features that let you send notifications to users when an asset is about to expire, so they can stop using it.


Restrictions are the mirror of permissions, preventing access rather than granting it. One example would be a DAM letting you add a search restriction to hide assets from unauthorized users’ searches. Some even let you add geographic restrictions, so an asset can only be viewed in certain regions or territories.


Watermarking is a simple, effective way to reduce pirating assets. Many digital asset management systems offer multiple methods for adding a watermark to assets on download or when shared. Watermarks can range from small logos identifying your company to large, aggressive watermarks designed to make pirating assets extremely difficult. For example, videos could feature a moving watermark or documents could have a broad “Confidential” watermark prominently on the page.


Some rights management is related to complying with regulatory requirements, like HIPAA or FINRA. For instance, if you have personally identifiable information in the DAM, your DAM should offer specific features that let you keep those assets safe. 

Automatic updates

Worried about sites featuring old assets? If you embed content directly from the DAM, then you can update assets everywhere at once when a new version is released. 

Terms of Service

A digital asset management software can let you cover yourself legally by adding Terms of Service to assets. You can have users check that they’ve reviewed Terms of Service or even include Terms of Service as a required part of downloads.

External usage

It’s 10 p.m. — do you know where your assets are? Integrations with A.I. services (like Google Cloud) can show you where your assets can be found outside the DAM, letting you pursue assets that are appearing where they shouldn’t.


Picture this: The spokesperson for your latest campaign has just said something … regrettable on social media. Need to make sure no one touches the assets featuring him for a little while? Search for assets that he’s tagged in and use a lockdown feature to prevent users from finding or sharing them. 

Embedded Metadata

Embedding metadata is a little like tattooing important information onto the asset. This makes it easier to analyze assets when they aren’t in the DAM — and makes it easier to identify assets that show up where they don’t belong.

Adding DRM to your DAM

Digital rights and digital asset management are a natural pairing. Both DRM and DAM are designed to keep your assets secure. And with the right digital asset management solution, you can handle both from the same system.