PLUS Coalition Expands Board

Posted on 2/20/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The Picture Licensing Universal System Coalition, an industry-neutral nonprofit that aims to simplify and facilitate image-rights management, has elected five new directors to its board. They represent their industries' trade and nonprofit associations. The PLUS board unites all industries involved in image creation, distribution, use and preservation.

Newly elected members come from the research libraries, design and advertising industries, equipment manufactures, educational institutions and museums. Joining are: David S. Ferriero, Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries (via the Association of Research Libraries); Clement Mok, designer, consultant and former creative director of Apple (via AIGA); Scott Brownstein, digital imaging technologist and former CTO of Applied Graphics Technologies (via the Photo Marketing Association); Dustin Wees, director of metadata and xataloging, ArtStor (via the Visual Resources Association); and Alan Newman, chief of the Division of Imaging & Visual Services, National Gallery of Art (via the Museum Computer Network).

The PLUS Coalition was established three years ago to fill what its founders saw as a critical void in digital image-licensing. Since then, PLUS has grown to unite members from 30 countries and reports record levels of interest and support.

It has also developed a system of standards and tools. These include a Universal Picture Licensing Glossary and a Media Matrix, which standardize image-licensing terminology and media options. The PLUS License Data Format unifies information that describes an image license and allows embedding this information as metadata. PLUS Packs are universal license bundles intended to simplify the licensing process; a number of supporting tools and resources are also available.

The image-licensing industry is more fragmented than ever. Practically every agency has its own way of handling pricing, keywording, metadata and licensing models. New PLUS board director Clement Mok cautions that "content-management rights is no longer an issue to be addressed in a proprietary and/or as needed ad hoc basis." He says PLUS will equitably address the needs of creators, marketers and clients.

Mok and Scott Brownstein both think that PLUS can also help open new markets. Brownstein said: "PLUS will level the playing field, allowing for safe public display coupled with true control of distribution. I have no doubt this will unleash a flood of new publication venues."

Organizations represented on the PLUS board include the Picture Archive Council of America, Advertising Photographers of America, American Association of Publishers, American Society of Picture Professionals and American Society of Media Professionals. Adobe, Jupiterimages, Digimarc, Digital Railroad, Getty Images, Image Span, Stock Photo Finder, PACA and Photo District News are among main financial and logistical PLUS sponsors. Corbis, Masterfile, NewsCom, PicScout and Workbook are sustaining members.

The PLUS Coalition has amassed significant financial resources, intellectual capital and brand recognition. However, standardized processes, ease of use, image security and new revenues comprise a very ambitious set of goals. Some industry insiders remain skeptical about the possibility of broad adoption of the PLUS standards, while others are getting restless for practical tools. Jeffrey Burke, co-founder and chairman of the board of PLUS, thinks this year will see the beginning of a broad deployment of PLUS licensing and metadata standards.

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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