Protecting your Digital Assets

What exactly are Digital Assets & how do we protect them?

Digital Assets are defined as “anything that exists in binary data which is self-contained, uniquely identifiable, and has a value or ability to use” and were originally identified as videos, images, audio, and documentation, but lately with technology advancing tremendously, digital assets also refer to photos, animations, clipart, vector graphics, audio files, files containing text, spreadsheets, or slide decks. New digital formats are constantly emerging and the definition of a digital asset is constantly expanding. Since binary data is the only form of data that can be directly understood and executed by a computer, it is the defining feature that makes an asset digital. A digital asset can be any content, in any format, that is stored digitally and provides value to the user. Here are the common types of digital file formats that are referred to as digital assets:

  • Digital Photos
    A picture made using a digital camera.
  • Videos
    Recording, reproducing, or broadcasting of moving visual images.
  • Design Files
    A drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of an item.
  • Documents
    Electronic matter that provides information or evidence in Word, Excel or PDF format.
  • Company Branding
    A concept that helps identify a particular company such as a logo.
  • Presentations
    Slide decks such as PowerPoint presentations.
  • Marketing Content
    Digital content that attracts a specific audience (such as images, banners, signatures, graphics)
  • Plain-text files
    Data that represent only characters of readable material such as Notepad files.
  • Web Coding 
    Coding documents such. asHTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, SQL.
  • Audio Files
    Sound, files that have been recorded, transmitted, or reproduced.

Digital Asset Management

A process for storing, sharing and organising digital assets in a controlled location. To effectively manage your digital assets, there are several questions you must consider:

  • Where to find them?
    Using tools, standards and processes involved in the effective utilization of digital assets. Software that allows for the management of a high volume of assets using simple or complex workflows.
  • How to organize them?
    Metadata is used to describe a digital asset which enables keyword search, allowing for the instant identification of specific files from across the library

Trademark protection in South Africa

Trademarks protect digital assets which distinguish your goods or services from others. Trademarks are register-able in terms of various trade mark acts around the world. Examples of trademarks include your company logo, 3D marks, holograms, multimedia, tunes, and textures. Once a trademark is registered in South Africa, it needs to be renewed every 10 years to stay in force. A registered trademark can be protected forever, provided it is renewed every 10 years upon payment of the prescribed renewal fee.

Protecting Digital Assets with Copyright

In most jurisdictions (including South Africa) copyright does not have to be registered – unlike patents, trademarks or designs, copyright vests in the author of a work once the work is created in a material form, including digital form. Certain classes of copyright have been developed to describe works eligible for protection. In terms of the South African Copyright Act, the following original works are eligible for copyright protection:

  • Literary, Musical and Artistic Works
    Copyright exists for the life of the author plus 50 years following death, calculated from the end of the year the author died in or 50 years from the date of first publication, performance in public, offering for sale of records thereof or the broadcasting thereof, whichever is later.
  • Cinematograph Films / Videos
    Copyright exists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the work is made publicly available, or the end of the year in which the work is first published, whichever is longer, or fifty years from the end of the year in which the work is made.
  • Sound Recordings
    Copyright exists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the recording is first published.
  • Broadcasts
    Copyright exists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the broadcast first takes place.
  • Programme-carrying Signals
    Copyright exists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the signals are emitted to a satellite.
  • Computer Programs
    Copyright exists for 50 years from the end of the year in which the code is saved.

Your digital assets are part of your intellectual property and can be protected by copyright and/or trade mark laws. This enable you to earn recognition or financial benefit from what you’ve created…. digitally.

Article by
Daleen Prinsloo
Digital Director, qhorr Digital Marketing

Posted on 19 May 2021

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