David Marlin recently spoke to the Association of American Publishers PSP Books Committee on rights management standards and best practices. Over his career working with dozens of publishers of all sizes, Marlin has accumulated valuable experience in understanding rights and royalty management workflows. Because so much of the professional and scholarly publishing content is conducive to licensing, rights management best practices are an important business consideration.
To help elucidate the best practices, Marlin created a conceptual model of the rights management workflow, with contracts at the core. The three areas include:
- Reporting and Business Intelligence
Each of these three areas have relations to the contract, to third party partners, and to other individuals and departments within the organization. In the presentation, Marlin mapped out the various processes involved, and the flow of data. For example, in the acquisition operational area of rights management, publishers acquire the rights to make use of the content. Those rights, and all the associated royalties and terms, are data that is needed in other parts of the organization. For example, the licensing/subsidiary rights department needs to know which rights are available.
In this particular example, Marlin demonstrates the importance of “global data access” and paperless workflows.
Continuing on this theme for each of the operational areas of the business, Marlin then moves into the implementation considerations. Perhaps the biggest is the strategic importance of licensing revenue to the overall picture. In that case, investing in a full scale rights and royalty management solution can provide short term strategic returns on investment.
A critical component of many of these best practices is the incorporation of standards. As part of his presentation, Marlin introduced the group to the Book Industr
y Study Group‘s Controlled Rights Vocabulary, and the value of standardizing terms when managing rights.