1. Ed, thanks for taking the time to talk to Wiley-Blackwell Publishing News. First of all, could you introduce the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), its origins, objectives, and activities?
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) is a global rights broker for millions of books, journals, newspapers, magazines, images, blogs, and ebooks. We were founded in 1978 as a not-for-profit organization by a group of interested authors, publishers, and academic and commercial users of copyrighted materials. CCC provides solutions that simplify the licensing of content that lets businesses and academic institutions quickly get permission to use copyright-protected materials, while compensating publishers and content creators for the use of their works.
2. In this interview were focusing on scholarly content i.e. the type of journal, book and reference material published by Wiley-Blackwell and its partners. How significant is this type of content to you, and what particular challenges does it pose CCC?
Scholarly content is very significant to CCC as it is among the most requested type of content for licensing by both our academic and corporate customers. Publishers such as Wiley-Blackwell and its partners have invested heavily in extending their content online and building a digital business model. CCCs challenge is to help creators and publishers of content maximize the return on their investment through licensing the rights to re-use this content. One example of this is RightsLink, a solution that allows publishers customers to license content quickly wherever the content resides.
3. How is the transition from a print-based business to an online one impacting on your activities?
Publishers are faced with a sophisticated consumer base that can access content in a variety of new and innovative ways. Its our goal to provide the types of licensing solutions that follow the content so that the content consumer can obtain permissions wherever they are accessing content. We developed RightsLink, our online point of content licensing solution for that very reason, and it has revolutionized the way people license content. RightsLink provides licensing for all types of content including text, video, images, and audio clips — and does so even from a publishers mobile application.
4. As well as being journal editors and society officers, many of our readers are also individual authors what are you doing to make their life easier in terms of gaining permissions?
Authors who hold the rights to their works can register those works with us to license the re-use of their content on copyright.com just as publishers do. Our publications service offers authors a convenient mechanism for paying for reprints, color and page charges, and the open access fees established by their publishers for those formats.
5. Youre integrating RightsLink with mobile devices how do you see the future of mobile access playing out for our audience?
Mobile is becoming a significant target in a publishers content strategy and is certainly where the industry is heading. CCC will continue to provide world class licensing solutions for mobile applications just as we did long ago in the environment of the photocopier and as we are doing today in the digital world.
6. I also want to explore some broader issues around rights whats your position on Creative Commons licensing and on Open Access?
Creative Commons and Open Access are simply different ways of addressing the general issue of how copyrighted material is distributed to its readers and users. Creative Commons licenses support the idea that copyright gives control to the copyright holder. Though somewhat rigid, those licenses serve a valid purpose for copyright holders who want to distribute certain materials, or who want to make possible certain uses, that may not have monetary value. Open Access is a different copyright-based model. Open Access permits broader distribution through professional publishing channels of some works by ensuring that the costs of that professional distribution are paid upfront rather than collecting fees from each user to cover those costs.
7. So what do you see as the opportunities and challenges of the expansion of Open Access as a business model?
The main opportunity AND challenge for Open Access as a business model is ensuring that it is used appropriately. Some people see Open Access as THE solution for the problem of publishing going forward. But, as is so often the case with all kinds of business models, it probably does not work best in all cases. It shifts costs around, sometimes from people who can afford them more easily (such as journal subscribers in the business sector) to people who may not be able to afford them easily (such as some authors), and it may treat all articles the same even if that might not be right. At the same time, Open Access does not trump copyright it provides a means of access to published material but does not eliminate the copyright holders rights to restrict reproduction and other kinds of legally-protected use. And it remains necessary to request permission from a rights-holder for a license to reproduce the work. On the other hand, Open Access does provide a kind of flexibility that some other distribution models might lack.
8. Rejection of the Google Books Settlement sent some shockwaves through the publishing world whats your prediction of where next; will it be revived?
CCC continues to support the efforts of the parties to reach a result which ensures that rights-holders have control over and are fairly compensated for the use of their works by Google and its customers. Meanwhile, CCC also continues to work closely with authors, publishers, and their representatives to provide efficient licensing solutions that meet the needs of corporate, government, and academic users and that result in additional royalties for rights-holders for the use of both in-print and out-of-print works.
9. I understand that youre opening a new office in Europe; what are its goals? And what about Asia and, in particular, China?
Yes, last year we opened RightsDirect, the European subsidiary of CCC, to better meet the needs of our European customers. RightsDirect offers global corporate customers headquartered in Europe the rights licensing solutions they need to navigate the complexities of cross-border copyright issues. As a founding member of IFRRO (the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations), as the Reproduction Rights Organization for the United States, and as a licensing representative for U.S. and international copyright holders, CCC has relationships with organizations around the world, including in China, to make it easy for people to share information responsibly, no matter where they are located.
10. And finally, where do you see CCC in five to ten years time?
Most important, we will continue to listen to our customers. The content industry is rapidly changing. CCC will be there in 5, 10, 15 years and more, continuing to develop the tools that simplify the licensing of content for the benefit of both copyright holders and users of copyrighted materials.