The Right Word

One of the challenges of working with any kind of intellectual property is that one man's film is another man's movie. But, what's in a word?

Well quite a bit. Possibly as much as a few billion dollars to owners of intellectual properties, so please bear with me on this.

Using different terminologies makes it difficult to equate two properties or rights. Indeed, they may have different meanings, especially when moving between jurisdictions. And as difficult as they are for humans to codify, it becomes an even greater issue when you ask computers to deal with the tautology.

This is one of the major reasons why it has taken so long to introduce efficient marketplaces for rights, in our view. But for the past three years at Rights Tracker we've had a project aimed at tackling this.

You can break the issues down into two: let's call them IP Types and Metadata.

Very often a property is made up of a collection of rights and assets and these can be arranged in a hierarchy - this is what we call IP Types.

For example, you may have a Brand such as Harry Potter, this then has Books, the Books have Versions (e.g. for different languages). In turn these IP Types can have Assets such as Chapters, Illustrations and Photographs.

Then consider a TV programme where you may have Title, Versions, Series, Episode, with the Episode made up of multiple Video, Image, Music and Document assets.

We're currently building a rights management system for a major pharma company, and here the IP Types are even more extensive with IP Types such as Graphs.

Code snippets, electronic components, drug ingredients are all potential IP Types.

Now you can start to realize the implications of IP Type management, which us why we have spent so much time, effort and brain power addressing this area.

Our resulting project to manage and codify this has resulted in the following developments.

First of all, we create an IP Type and this has fixed or variable Properties. Then, you can Label this (film or movie, for example) and place it in a Hierarchy, defining its Relationships with other IP Types.

Another dimension to this is that every IP Type has its own metadata, and there is very little standardization of this even within industries, although the rise of XML has seen this situation improve.

Our approach is to enable standardized metadata schema to be used, using a minimum data set, e.g. Movie Title, Movie Description, Movie Issue Date, Tags and then to make this extensible.

This keeps the data portable and interchangeable.

We've now introduced the above concepts to our rights and asset management platform, Assetry. This means that we can not only enable any specific IP Type model, but can also make this interchangeable and matchable between organizations. This in turn has the huge benefit of enabling us to not only help our customers to deliver content more effectively, as we do for the Press Association and their daily news video feeds, for example, but also to enable trading in these properties in real time.

This may all sound esoteric, but we believe that the results will facilitate new money making and money saving opportunities to anyone involved in managing intellectual property.

Get in touch with us if you'd like to hear more.