Diane Pierson, VP-marketing at Copyright Clearance Center, is responsible for marketing and product management operations at the not-for-profit rights licensing service. She is also a member of the executive team.
Media Business: With the recession, business media companies are looking for more ways to monetize their content. How do reprints fit that trend?
Pierson: Media companies realize that they need to change their business model because the world is changing around them. If you shift from an ad-supported revenue model to one that places more value on the content you produce, you absolutely have to charge for that content in reprint form as well as its original form.
MB: There is still a perception in the digital world that information on the Web should be free. How can publishers protect their rights and monetize their online content in the form of a reprint?
Pierson: We know that users want to do the right thing in terms of copyright, but they don't necessarily know what the right thing is. We're fortunate that we've got two good examples that have already happened, in software and music, and people get it right away when we reference that. On a tactical level, CCC has developed an easy work-flow tool, RightsLink, that helps the customer use content responsibly wherever they happen to be making that decision.
MB: How does RightsLink work?
Pierson: We don't provide the content. We provide the knowledge of the rights. Typically, publishers pay a flat fee for custom design and installation of RightsLink, and we are developing a more standard model for middle-market publishers. The users pay only what the publishers choose to have them pay for the reprints or digital rights, and some part of that revenue comes back to us. Our tools don't just make it easier for people to buy rights and reprints, they also give publishers the knowledge they need to sell them through reporting and analysis tools.
MB: What are the copyright implications of social media? Does someone who makes a comment, for example, have rights to that content?
Pierson: Those are the kinds of things that haven't been legislated to the point where there is a norm. This is going to be complex, and people—including the Obama administration—are beginning to think about it now. At CCC, we're building systems with a very flexible framework that could support a linked economy, so that people who authored various pieces [of a larger content product] could contribute their rights. In the near future, we will have more comments on that.
MB: What do business media publishers need to consider when it comes to video and other nontext media?
Pierson: There's a lot of rich content [on the Internet] that people are interested in purchasing, and we are media neutral. Because there are so many different new types of content emerging, including webinars and other content with multiple media elements, we have a very interesting mix of opportunities that we can monetize. —M.G.