Posted on 6/23/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Automated Content Access Protocol project, which aims to devise a universal standard for the automated expression of permissions online, is adopting the semantics of the Picture Licensing Universal System. PLUS standards have been developed to standardize the communications and management of image rights and to simplify automation of related processes via machine-readable licenses.

The European Publishers Council, the World Association of Newspapers and the International Publishers Association created ACAP in 2006 in response to the publishing industry's demand for a new communications system of online content-management. ACAP exited its yearlong pilot phase as an open, global, nonproprietary permissions tool, vying to become the universal permissions protocol on the Internet.

In fact, ACAP is a new language, developed in collaboration with search engines. Once complete, it will be taught to search engines' robot "spiders" to enable content owners to communicate access and use permissions to online intermediaries. ACAP's broader goal is to support the development of new online business models and to maximize the benefits of search engines by facilitating the dissemination, use and protection of copyrighted content on the Web.

Though it remains in development, ACAP is already available. According to its Web site, implementation is simple, quick and has no impact on the functionality of an existing site. "At this early stage of ACAP, it is crucial that every content provider implement the protocol... and put out a strong message that they care about how their content is used," explain ACAP creators.

Thus far, ACAP concentrated on text-based online resources. As it enters the next phase of development, the project is expanding to meet publisher requirements for communicating the terms of use of photographic and other content on the Internet. The PLUS License Data Format and PLUS Media Matrix will augment the ACAP vocabulary for communicating image-related information.

According to ACAP director Mark Bide, PLUS is a perfect fit. "We have said from the start that ACAP is not about reinventing the wheel but about filling in the missing pieces of jigsaw to allow all content providers to express, in a machine-readable way, how they wish their content, whether that be pictures, music, film or the written word, to be re-used in the online environment," he said.

PLUS Coalition president and CEO Jeff Sedlik added that the collaboration of the two initiatives will benefit everyone involved in creating, distributing, using and preserving images.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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