Companies trying to defend their brand against misuse on the internet have an uphill task, according to analysts.
High-profile cases such as the music sharing website Napster have proved that digital rights protection over the web has become a thorny issue.
With several companies such as Microsoft, VeriSign and IBM investing in ways to offer digital brand and rights management software and services, analysts have said that there remains a lot to do before digital rights technology can prove effective.
"In reality it's very difficult to manage brands," said Alan Pelz-Sharpe of analyst group Ovum. "Current offerings add little real value to users and what's really needed in the long term is a cutting down of the huge number of standards currently out there to a handful."
VeriSign launched a digital trust service in December called Managed Digital Brand which searches the internet for text and logo misuse of a company brand.
"IT spend is down this year, but security is up," said Gabriel Dusil, a VeriSign director. "Digital brand management is one area that companies are increasingly looking to."
With companies such as Disney having around 10,000 brands to keep tabs on, Dusil acknowledged that management is a tall order.
Pelz-Sharpe said that players such as VeriSign are currently ahead of the market, but that there is still uncertainly about tackling brand abuse.
"A lot of ecommerce failures came about because of the failure to secure rights management," he explained. "The big players will predominate and define the standards but, until then, the issue of how to protect brands online will run and run."
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