Web-based Service Aims to Bridge Gap Between Knowledge Sharing and Copyright Compliance

Copyright Clearance Center announces Rightsphere, a comprehensive rights advisory and management solution for content users and librarians.
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), the provider of text licensing solutions, has launched Rightsphere, a Web-based rights advisory and management service that helps corporations promote collaboration and the free flow of published information while respecting copyright.

The first-of-its-kind service will debut June 11 at the Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) in Baltimore and is scheduled for general availability this fall.

Rightsphere provides a customized, comprehensive view of all rights assets held by a business and delivers unambiguous answers to the common employee question: "What can I do with this content?"

"Rightsphere goes right to the heart of the fear, confusion and complexity that stifle companies from unleashing the value of the content they obtain," says Chuck Richard, Vice President & Lead Analyst, Outsell, Inc. "It is a rights performance solution with a major productivity upside that knocks aside the logs in the corporate rights-clearing logjam. It captures CCC's deep understanding of the value of content and the value of rights within an elegant solution for enterprises: deliver more game-changing content to employees with less rights angst and busywork."

Rightsphere makes information about a company's content reuse rights instantly available to employees at their desktops, dramatically reducing the time it takes to verify copyright permissions. By consolidating all of these rights assets in a single, easy-to-access repository, Rightsphere enables librarians and information professionals to organize and manage rights by country, city or department. These rights can come from many sources, including CCC's annual licenses and per-use permissions, licenses obtained directly from publishers, aggregators and other information providers and licenses purchased from rights organizations in other countries. Utilizing Rightsphere's powerful administrative application, content and license managers can add, modify and delete records about publications, rights conditions and other content information.

Global pharmaceutical company Novartis is working with CCC as a charter customer for Rightsphere. Deborah Juterbock, global head of the Novartis Knowledge Center, calls Rightsphere "a key element in our copyright and corporate compliance policies."

CCC designed Rightsphere for organizations that view collaboration as a key driver of innovation and growth. With so much information available at the speed of a keystroke, it has never been easier to copy, forward or e-mail content to anyone, at any time. But regularly distributing content without copyright permission violates most corporations' IP compliance policies and conflicts with copyright law. Many companies instruct employees to ask corporate library staff for permission before they share published documents. This is a time-consuming process that disrupts employee workflow, consumes hours of librarian time and ultimately slows collaboration and innovation.

To avoid this delay, some employees distribute articles without waiting for permission, violating ethics policies and exposing organizations to claims of copyright infringement. In response, some companies institute restrictive policies on information sharing, hampering the company's higher mission: to learn and grow. "That's why it's never been more important for companies to know what rights they have, and to give their employees access to them -- quickly and easily," says CCC Vice President of Marketing Bill Burger.

"Rightsphere is designed for today's knowledge economy, in which information collaboration is critical," says Burger. "Published documents are shared among coworkers, customers and business partners at ever-increasing rates, but old methods of rights approval and rights management have failed to keep pace. Rightsphere addresses a company's need to boost knowledge and innovation through better use of its information assets, while also complying with its own ethical and legal policies."

Using Rightsphere's administrative tool, librarians can enter details of their company's unique content agreements into the system's underlying database. Then, when employees want to use or share copyrighted content, they simply click the Rightsphere button on their browsers and indicate how they wish to use the material. Rightsphere, which is designed to require little training, lets them know instantly if and how they have permission to use the content. If they must purchase permission, they can do so using Rightsphere's e-commerce option.

Corporate librarians and information managers can generate customized reports and statistics on the use of the service, highlighting trends that for the first time provide insight into the full lifecycle of content use throughout the organization. These reports help identify gaps in rights coverage and can help inform future purchasing decisions.

John Blossom, president of Shore Communications, says Rightsphere "encourages users to 'do the right thing' with copyright compliance without guesswork," and "will lead to more cost-effective use of content licensing agreements."

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