Challenges Surrounding Digital Rights & Permissions



Copyright has been an ever-changing beast in the publishing world. Lines are constantly being blurred. Things are changing rapidly and publishers are the ones that have to keep track on the latest developments. In relation to that, the role of digital publishing service providers become that more important.

For instance, the European Union (EU) unveiled broad changes to their copyright law. Essentially, they’re trying to create a digital single market. While some may call it modernization of obsolete copyright laws, others call it interference. According to Chris Spillane and Alex Spence of, “Streamlining and modernizing a patchwork of copyright laws is a cornerstone of the Commission’s digital single market strategy, which aims to pump €415 billion into Europe’s economy annually by breaking digital barriers across the EU.” It throws the whole rights acquisition process into question.  It would seem to benefit one set of publishers such as news publishers while other mediums may tend to suffer as a consequence. It’s a slippery slope for everyone involved and makes the rights and permissions process that more complicated.

DRM (Digital Rights Management) and copyrights has become an essential part of the conversation. Most publishers have been trying to monetize their content as much as possible. In the last few years, there has been an increase in the trading of authorship and ownership of copyright protected material. Most of these materials can be text, images, graphs and other assets. These materials cover both digital and print mediums.

On the same note, copyright changes from country to country. Each one has their own set of complicated laws which leads to other complex issues. Managing digital assets rights and permissions becomes that more important.  That’s why a lot more publishers are investing in DRM systems and making rights management a cornerstone of their service. It reduces the roles of everyone involved, provides operational efficiency and monitors the process of each individual asset. Many different variations are popping up all over the world as the lines between countries are getting blurred.

This leads to other equivalent issues of protectionism as more countries have been adopting it. For instance, England recently broke off from the EU which affected the entire economic structure. Publishing was affected on a short term basis but it was a very drastic shockwave. It costs jobs across the board. It’s still unknown how much copyright will be affected considering it was part of the EU until recently where trade readily flowed through.

It’s interesting time for the whole world. 2017 is sure to bring up more problems than solutions.