In the era where content is freely available to anyone across the world, it becomes even more important to ensure that publishers have a good idea of where and what kind of assets they have. While copyright is seen as an inhibitor to creativity, it is rather an enabler and protector to the entire industry.
For instance, take the changes that the European Union unveiled last year. According to ec.europa.eu, “these proposals will help European copyright industries to flourish in the Digital Single Market and European authors to reach new audiences, while making European works widely accessible it to European citizens, also across borders.” But critics have felt that it allows too much access. For example, educational material would be beamed across the countries at no extra cost. While this is great for students, it doesn’t help the publishers who make money on rights and permissions as every piece of text, image, design and other material is copyright protected. It puts rights acquisition front and center. Publishers would lose out on revenue as institutions/individuals across 28 countries would have access to educational material and other content for free. It’s a question of authorship and ownership. In the United States, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) sent an open letter to President Donald Trump in regards to current laws being ill-equipped to protect their intellectual property. Copyright law creates a balance between authors, publishers and distributors, and users and the general public.
This invariably brings up the issue of digital asset rights and permissions. As content becomes more widespread, publishers must track and act on the rights attached to their assets in order to avoid serious legal penalties for copyright infringement. Take the field of academics. Every piece of content that is written is an expression of an idea and that idea needs to be protected at all costs. Take the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted research papers. A publisher-commissioned survey of more than 5,000 scientists by the research-impact service Kudos in Wheatley, UK, suggested that 57% had uploaded their own work to scholarly communication networks; 79% of those said they checked copyright policies before they did so, but 60% thought they should be allowed to upload their articles regardless of publisher or journal policies. Not only is this is a good case for digital rights management, it also brings up issues of the legal ramifications of unauthorized sharing of copyrighted material.
For publishers, asset management has become a requisite as a large number of assets have been collected over time. In some cases, those assets have been moved around or gotten lost in the pile. So, it’s equally important for publishers to keep track of their rights and permissions. Keeping this in mind, publishers have turned to content solutions providers that are specialists in digital asset and rights management.
By investing in a digital rights management solutions, publishers will be able to manage their assets better and monetize them at the same time. These assets are not limited to just text but also scientific images, videos, photos, graphs and illustrations. Publisher and content providers will have the ability to
- Enable licensing of their content to global markets
- Control pricing of their content
- Communicate directly with third party systems
- Real-time on available assets and licensing opportunities
- Untangle blacklist rights challenges
For publishers, the assets they have are the greatest pieces of intellectual property they own. Such ownership of rights will begin with the expression of the idea – the content – in a book to the management of those rights in the marketplace.