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Contractual Rights Management: It’s Time to Take Control of Data Usage

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Contractual rights management has become a hot topic in financial information and market data circles following a number of public instances involving high-profile financial institutions breaching licensing agreements with data vendors – and paying the price with both significant financial penalties and damaged reputations.

Also known as digital rights management, contractual rights management refers to the ability to understand how commercially supplied data sets may be consumed or redistributed within a financial institution. It has moved up financial institutions’ agenda on the basis of instances such as those above, hardening attitudes towards licensing compliance among financial information providers, and the ever present threat of an internal or external audit of data usage.

A white paper published by A-Team Group and commissioned by TRG Screen, discusses why data licensing has become such a big issue for both data providers and consumers, and notes best practice approaches to compliance. These include five key elements to establish a robust approach to contractual rights management that can help firms avoid licence breaches – capture, storage, interpretation, socialisation and compliance and lineage.

The paper also reviews Open Digital Rights Language (ODRL), an industry initiative based on an XML variant and designed to provide an industry-agnostic language for the assignment of usage rights to content. It is very much a work in progress, but could ultimately provide an industrywide framework for assigning and managing usage rights in a cloud-based environment, thus streamlining the relationship between content owners, redistributors and content consumers in financial markets.

Meantime, the paper advices firms to take action on the implementation of best practices for contractual rights management so that they can not only gain control of data usage, but also clean up data subscription and delivery processes, which should provide operational efficiencies and an impact on the bottom line. As will the avoidance of penalties for non-compliance with data licensing agreements.

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