Content Licensing: Keep it Legit!

There is a common belief that any data feed found on the Internet can also be used freely in a digital signage application. This is often not the case.
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Content Licensing: Keep it Legit!

Apr 8, 2011 12:00 PM, Vern Freedlander, Vice President, Production, X2O Media

There is a common belief that any data feed found on the Internet for your personal use on a private computer can also be used freely in a digital signage application. This is often not the case and before this type of content is redistributed, it is vitally important that the integrator or signage operator becomes aware of the particular licensing issues involved. Integrators should also understand that many free feeds are made up of incomplete headlines that require a click-through to get to the full story—not a good option for digital signage. Likewise video clips require proper licensing before they can be redistributed via digital signage. In the case of a signage network running advertising it is highly unlikely that the content can be used without clearance. Often in the rush to fill the screen with content, operators don’t obtain the necessary permissions, at their own peril and that of their clients.

Using content without the required permissions can lead to various problems. Firstly, you could be in violation of copyright laws and could expose the end-user to litigation. Secondly, the structure of the data feed or the supply of video content could change without notice, leaving the network without content or content that appears jumbled and illegible. Thirdly, you are left without any recourse if the editorial quality of the content changes.

By taking the legitimate route you can save yourself a lot of headaches. You can be sure the content is originating from a known and respected source and you can make sure the length of the text or the quality of the video meets your expectations. The best way to legitimately display licensed content is to get it through a digital signage provider that has developed relationships with content sources over the years. Doing it right will give you one less thing to worry about.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at




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