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Do The Rights Thing

Sunday, May 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Brian O'Leary

I’m writing this week about an important effort underway in the BISG Rights Committee, which works to solve the most important rights-related problems facing the publishing industry. It identifies areas of consensus where standards would be valuable, and it leads online and in-person events to inform the broader rights committee.

The committee has taken on five projects for calendar 2018, the first of which will create a white paper outlining case studies where rights solutions have delivered a return on investment (ROI). The research will be published in September 2018.

Members of the committee started by contributing information about case studies from their own work. This first group of success stories came from publishers and solutions providers whose staff are active in the rights committee. While the committee members represent a diverse group, they knew they’d need a broader set of case studies to help the industry understand where rights ROI can be found.

To expand the data set, chair Tricia McCraney worked with members of the committee to develop a “Publisher Profile” that we’re using to collect information about specific implementations. In particular, we want to benchmark the extent to which members of the publishing community are using in-house systems or databases, rights management solutions developed by third-party vendors, and paper, hard-copy filing systems, or something else.

Early in the process, publisher expressed concern with submitting information about their investment decisions. Responding, the rights committee added language to confirm that it is committed to publishing only aggregated findings, maintaining the confidentiality of submitted data. As well, all publishers contributing to the study will be asked to review all uses of their information, with the option to withdraw any submissions before the results are published.

Still, we’re struggling a bit to get publishers to participate. This isn’t a new situation for BISG, of course. We’ve been working for more than 40 years to solve problems that affect two or more parts of the supply chain. We’re uniquely positioned to deliver value, but our value depends on access to data that is often held by individual companies, some of whom are not members of BISG.

Beyond the protections offered on the use of data, it’s important to note that the ROI study responds to something we learned last year, when we wrote the white paper, Publishing Rights: An Untapped Opportunity. That research profiled a publishing marketplace in search of solutions to grow and better manage revenue obtained from rights and royalty solutions.

The research also confirmed that there’s an absence of understanding on what investments will pay off. Anecdotally, we hear that many publishers have invested to cut rights staff, but anecdotes deliver mostly anecdata. As an industry, we can do better, and BISG can help.

I encourage you to help us better define what’s happening with rights and royalties investments. If you have a story, fill out the form. If it feels overwhelming, contact Tricia McCraney or Maya Fakundiny, and we’ll assign someone to interview you – a half hour at most. Help us solve a real problem. It’s what we do best, with your participation.


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