10 Things for Publishers to Get Their Rights Management Right

10 Things for Publishers to Get Their Rights Management Right


Acquiring and managing rights & permissions can be quite a headache for publishers – figuratively and literally. Assigning the task of rights management to existing internal resources is too much of an imposition, not to mention an expensive effort. Moreover, the need for faster acquisition of rights and permissions has increased with the rise in the number of consumers who demand content on their mobile devices at any time. To soothe your aching head, we bring to you 10 things you can do to get your rights management right.

Know your Rights

The surge in digital content has prompted several publishers to monetize their backlist. While this has the potential to reap profits, it also increases your litigation risk. Before going digital, do a thorough project analysis and rights risk analysis. Take advantage of rights management experts who can trace your old assets, renew them, and in many cases, update expensive rights with much cheaper assets. Organize and warehouse your rights & permissions to make them easy to comply with and track in future.

Know What Rights You Need

When you are seeking permissions, you need to know exactly the types of rights you require – first rights, one-time rights, reprint rights, etc. Purchasing all the rights is expensive, while repeatedly going back to the copyright holder for rights is a waste time and money. In the long run, the latter could prove to be a more expensive effort. So before you begin the acquisition process, make sure your rights managers have conducted an accurate analysis of your requirements.

Use & Track Your Own Assets

Before you any of your content goes digital, make sure they are traceable so that you can track their instances. If you generate large volumes of content in the form of text, illustrations, images, illustrations, etc. it is imperative for you to keep track of their rights & permissions to ensure they are up-to-date and usable. Keeping an eye on your assets will help you identify cases of plagiarism and violation of fair use.

Monetize Your Own Assets

In this digital era virtually everyone is publisher, leading to an unprecedented increase in the demand for content to reuse, reproduce and distribute. So once you have organized your assets, you can monetize them by offering them to other authors, libraries and publishers. Create easy-to-understand guidelines that will enable anyone to acquire rights & permissions of your assets. And as consumers today are also eager to share quality content on social media sites, you need to ensure that you make the experience of sharing as seamless as possible.

Make Use of Fair Use

Although publishers are aware of the fair use policy, most hesitate to take advantage of it. Conduct a Fair Use Analysis to identify instances where you can utilize valuable assets without permission. Hire experts who will follow the recommended procedure for determining fair use to mitigate your litigation risk. Leveraging fair use gives you access to a wide range of assets without the headache of permissions, thus reducing your time-to-market.

Sensible Spending

Many publishers think that their rights & permissions managers need to be present in the geographical region they are dealing with. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most rights transactions can be handled offshore, helping you reduce your rights spend. Instead you could deploy resources to geographies that have the potential to sell IP, and negotiate for maximum profit.

Beyond the Brick Wall

When you are tracking down the rightful owner of an asset, you may draw a blank several times. Based on what they plan to do with the asset, publishers make a judgment call. However, this very call may cost you a lot, as not receiving a response to your acquisition does not constitute permissions. Employ researchers who are persistent and dutiful enough to track the copyright holder, even if that means searching for records among long-forgotten files or papers. Moreover, it is essential for the research team to maintain a detailed rights trail of communication to mitigate risk.

Share your Rights

While tracking your rights is important, make sure it does not restrict your consumers. People consume content on a range of devices as opposed to a single one, so you need to ensure your content is easy to transfer and share. For instance, if your reader has downloaded an e-book on their smartphone, they should be able to transfer it to their tablet in a seamless manner. Unnecessary restrictions will affect user experience and damage your reputation. So delight your users with integrated DRM to build a loyal and profitable customer base.

Permissions at a Click

While many rights are expensive, there is still a way for you to considerably reduce your rights spend. When it comes to images, there are web-based solutions that allow you to select no-cost or low-cost images or any other media with a simple click. Such user-friendly solutions make the acquisition of permissions a hassle-free job and reduce your rights spend by directing you towards preferred vendors.