Protecting Visual Assets: The Role of Legal Departments in Mitigating Leaks

Copyright

June 29, 2023

Protecting Visual Assets: The Role of Legal Departments in Mitigating Leaks

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Protecting intellectual property, especially visual assets like designs, logos, videos and images, is vital for businesses to safeguard products, copyrighted works, and strategic data. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are commonly used to protect sensitive information, including visual assets, by legally binding parties to maintain confidentiality. However, breaches of NDAs can still occur, necessitating additional measures to safeguard valuable data.

Indeed, once a leak has taken place, the damage is often irreversible, as it becomes challenging to control the dissemination of the leaked assets. NDAs alone aren't sufficient for protecting a company's visual assets upstream. Costly post-leak measures like DMCA (in the US) or LCEN (in France)  processes and takedown notices only tackle the issue downstream. Beside raising awareness of all stakeholders and organizational and technical measures, proactive monitoring and detection strategies can help all teams to minimize potential damages.

Legal departments play a vital role in this process, as they are impacted both in securing the execution of commercial deals and in limiting damages if a leak occurs. But how to fulfil this responsibility?

By making sure you have your seat in the risk management team of your company.

Legal team can participate to the proactive risk management with a collaborative approach

Risk management implies working collectively with stakeholders and experts to identify, qualify, and address risks and opportunities in a given context. When sharing confidential visual assets, various risks can be identified, with leaks being a significant concern. Let's now focus on the specific risk of leaks.

Reputation and Public Relations Management

When visual assets are leaked prematurely, it has a profound impact on a company's reputation and public image. Stakeholders may question the organization's ability to protect its intellectual property rights, adding an additional burden on the legal team. This situation can result in:

  • Public relations fallout
  • Lawsuits with insufficient evidence
  • Negotiating settlements that may expose vulnerabilities

Fact 1: Ant-Man and the Wasp - Quantumania

The script of the movie was leaked before its official release on Reddit. After this event, Marvel Studios asked the social network to provide information on the leaker and is doing everything to avoid the situation in the future.

 

Reinforcing Competitive Advantage and Market Position through Brand Protection

Legal departments are crucial in supporting strategic plans, including product launches and marketing campaigns. Securing the content related to these events during the embargo period (the period between sharing visual assets with agencies and the product launch) is vital. 

If a leak occurs, identifying the source of the leak early on and taking legal actions against those responsible, supported by strong evidence, can help stop the propagation of leaks.

 

Fact 2: Oppo phone

Leaks are common in the consumer electronics industry, particularly for new phone models. The latest Oppo phone, Oppo Find X6, experienced visual leaks in March 2023, before its official launch.

Oppo Find X6 phone visual leaks

By implementing a solution for monitoring and detecting the source of leaked content, the legal team can reduce the likelihood of costly legal disputes related to intellectual property and trade secret infringement.

Effective Risk Mitigation and Value Creation through Synergy

Risk management involves working collectively with stakeholders and experts to identify, assess, and address risks and opportunities in a given context. Legal departments become more efficient when they collaborate closely with the business, resulting in optimized value creation.

Synergy for Enhanced IP Protection: Legal Teams and Creative Departments Join Forces

While complete risk removal is rarely achievable, risk mitigation and risk transfer are commonly considered options. When it comes to protecting confidential visual assets, effective risk mitigation involves:

  • Raising stakeholders' awareness about the value of visual assets and the consequences of leaks
  • Engaging in synergetic discussions to evolve practices and select appropriate actions and tools
  • Implementing preventive measures
  • Planning for worst-case scenarios to enable efficient damage control.

 

By proactively involving legal departments in anticipating and addressing visual asset leaks, a culture of synergy is fostered among teams such as marketing, design, and IT.

This collaboration allows different forms of creativity to nurture and complement each other, driving innovation and progress.

Rather than solely relying on traditional solutions like NDAs, legal departments are now aware that such measures alone may not provide sufficient protection for the company's valuable assets. Instead, they contribute to creating a more secure environment by identifying appropriate monitoring and detection tools to proactively monitor assets and identify leaks and leakers. This preparation ensures the legal department is ready to act efficiently in case of a leak.

This proactive involvement not only enhances the organization's ability to protect its intellectual property but also strengthens trust and confidence in the organization's commitment to safeguarding valuable assets. It demonstrates the organization's proactive approach to involving its people and leveraging their expertise to maintain compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Learn more about the Risks of Visual Content Leaks in various industries.

How much could a leak cost your business?

Learn more about the Risks of Visual Content Leaks in various industries.

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