Digital Rights Rules: Always Evolving

In Frankfurt 2011 by Andrew Wilkins

By Andrew Wilkins

“With digital rights, whatever I thought I knew last year has already changed for this year,” according to Kris Kliemann, John Wiley VP and Director of Global Rights. “Digital licenses change with almost every deal we do.”

Kliemann was speaking on the panel, “Lessons Learned: Licensing Models for Digital Rights,” alongside the Copyright Clearance Center’s Ed Colleran, and Amarylis Manole of Brazilian STM publisher Manole Publishing House.

The session outlined the new opportunities presented by the surging demand for digital and mobile content. Secondary licensing, of which digital licensing is part, represented not only an opportunity for new revenue, but also an opportunity for publishers to develop their brands and reach entirely new international markets, noted Ed Colleran.

 The US-based Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), has distributed $170 million in licensing income to publishers in the past year and has developed the Rights Link platform to help publishers automate and manage their rights and license transactions online. It was important, said Colleran, for publishers to provide clear links to rights and permissions information on their websites and mobile applications, to “catch customers right when they’re reading the content.”

 The number of different ways of selling content was expanding continuously. As well as more established licenses like those for photocopying, single article sales, reprint sales and image licensing.

Both Colleran and Kliemann emphasized the importance of publishers knowing exactly what rights they possessed or needed to acquire, and ensure agreements were in place before they started licensing to other parties. Tools and methodologies for managing licenses and micropayments are also essential.

About the Author

Andrew Wilkins

Andrew Wilkins is the director of Wilkins Farago, an independent, Melbourne-based book publisher. Until 2008, he was publisher of Australia's book industry magazine, Bookseller+Publisher. He travels regularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.