Your Content, Everywhere
Kindles, iPads, Blackberries, Androids and Galaxy Tabs—a few years ago, you might have thought I was talking about rock bands, but of course, these are just a few of the ever-growing range of mobile devices. The freedom and the depth of information that tablet and smartphone technology offers is not disputed. But for publishers and other content creators, the same technology that has simplified the way we capture and share information presents yet another daunting challenge when it comes to content licensing: Adapt or else!
We have seen this movie before. In 1995, the arrival of the World Wide Web brought new business opportunities along with questions about managing intellectual property rights. The same storyline also played out beginning in the 1970s with the commercial availability of photocopiers.
At the nonprofit Copyright Clearance Center, which came into existence in the Photocopying Age and was an early arrival in the Digital Age (we registered www.copyright.com in 1995 and began conducting e-commerce soon thereafter), we understand the need to look constantly beyond established approaches to copyright licensing while making it easier for content buyers to secure reuse rights. In other words, the key is to address technology-driven challenges with technology-driven solutions.
Context-based licensing is where everything begins. It's about understanding what readers really want. Where and how do they want to access information? In what formats do they want that material? How do they prefer to share information? And how can they most efficiently get permission to share copyrighted material?
Within a few years, the answers to those questions will likely vary depending on each individual audience within a publisher's market. Once customer needs are determined, rightsholders can choose from a host of traditional and emerging licensing approaches to meet market demands and to maximize their revenue potential. Experience proves a useful guide for developing the proper solutions. Here, then, are ways—that you can count on two hands—to arrive at the answers: