Ten reasons why rights management matters


Copyright is the bedrock of the publishing industry, and the rights that publishers hold are their greatest assets. Good management and exploitation of them can make a significant difference to the revenue, profitability and value of any publisher, and they deserve time, resources and investment. In a competitive and challenging market, they provide a lucrative income channel—but only if they are given sufficient attention.

Here are ten key ways every business can benefit from professional rights management.

1. More revenue

Effective management of rights can unlock extra sources of sales. By knowing what rights they control, publishers are able to exploit the licensing of their content to the full. Sales of subsidiary rights like translations, digital, audio, film and much more can add substantially to the bottom line and increase the profitability of a business.

2. Wider reach

Confidence in rights ownership allows publishers to license and share content easily and quickly. It opens up huge potential for the exploitation of assets in overseas markets, and allows for better promotion and discoverability of material on and offline.

3. Stronger protection

Clear oversight of rights is a valuable part of any publisher’s efforts to protect and promote its assets. With knowledge of the extent of their rights and the confidence that they can prove ownership of their assets, publishers can drive more effective anti-piracy strategies.

4. Better author and third party relations

Rights revenue doesn’t just benefit publishers: it provides authors, illustrators and other content creators with valuable extra income. That can act as a motivation to produce further high quality content, and to remain loyal to a publisher. Other publishing partners, like scholarly societies and associations, can benefit too.

5. Closer partnerships

Confidence about which rights can be pitched can help teams to strengthen relationships with overseas publishers and other licensing partners. Efficient administration and presentation of contracts and negotiations creates the impression of a professional and trustworthy trading partner.

6. Sharper strategies

Knowledge of the rights that are owned facilitates the development of future strategies, like considerations of new formats and new markets. Forecasts and planning for growth can be more assured.

7. Reduced legal risk

Without a good understanding of the rights they control, publishers risk inadvertent unauthorised use of IP and infringement of copyright—which can leave them open to costly litigation.

8. Smoother internal communications

Central access to rights information within a publishing business reduces misunderstandings between rights teams and other key departments like editorial, sales and marketing.

9. Simpler permissions

As well as supporting licensing, good rights management enables publishers to grant permissions for reuse more easily and faster. By automating or outsourcing processes, it is possible to make the permissions process even more user friendly.

10. A more attractive business to buy

Clear and comprehensive rights management gives potential buyers of a business a better overview of the assets they are acquiring and their value. It makes due diligence easier, instils confidence that the company is well run, and shows that it knows how to leverage its IP.