Copyright challenges in private companies
A very instructive article published by RightsDirect in the latest WIPO magazine.
“The use of copyrighted works – in particular text and image-based works – is intensive and pervasive in most companies, and not only those with a strong research component. (…) Organizations use many different types of content, including scientific and technical information, financial, legal and business information, statistics, news, graphs and photographs and other images. Employees may obtain this information from a variety of sources including scientific, technical and trade journals, books, magazines, newspapers, websites and blogs. Access is typically gained through subscriptions with publishers or agencies, from document delivery and press-clipping agencies, and from corporate intranets and the Internet.
What do employees need to do when they want to share a scientific article, a blog post, a photograph or statistical information? How can they find out whether specific content is copyright-protected or who the copyright owner is? Whom should they contact in their company if they have doubts about copyright protection or to secure the necessary permissions? (…)
Studies show that most workers still lack sufficient awareness of their responsibilities under intellectual property (IP) laws, particularly when it comes to sharing digital content. Many believe that content available on the Internet can be shared without requesting permission. They either assume they can forward articles from journals they subscribe to, or they are unaware of whether – or how to – clear the necessary rights. (…)
In many cases, obtaining the necessary authorization means interrupting business workflows and delaying the dissemination of information. Corporate researchers who need to share scientific articles online with their colleagues require authorization mechanisms that are quick and easy to use. In an ideal world, these researchers would have a license that pre-authorizes this type of content use.
The good news is that there are solutions to these challenges. The “copyright compliance toolkit” at the disposal of private firms can be summarized in three key concepts: education, information and efficient licensing mechanisms.
Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) and its European subsidiary, RightsDirect, for example, provide a license that gives corporations the right to share content belonging to thousands of different copyright holders. Employees are granted a consistent set of rights for sharing information with co-workers in multiple territories. CCC and RightsDirect also offer free resources to help companies develop copyright policies of their own and to educate staff about copyright law.”
Colodron, Victoriano. Copyright compliance in private companies: challenges and solutions. WIPO Magazine, June 2011. Online: