Innovation Asset Blog

Digital copyright management tests authors' business savvy

As the literary world makes the jump from hardcovers and paperbacks to tablet computers and dedicated eReaders, authors are encountering an entirely new slate of risks and rewards. As they strive to expand their audience and without deflating content value, writers will need a keen knowledge of emerging royalty management realities.

"There's a need for copyright holders to be able to retain rights to their work and to be able to monetize those rights," Christopher Kenneally, director of authors relations at the Copyright Clearance Center, told Good e-Reader. "At the same time, copyright as it is under law in this country is about being able to allow people to use copyrighted materials. That balancing act is for the good of both parties."

As novel strategies like social media campaigns and online previews blur the lines of content ownership, Kenneally insists that copyright registration remains an important step. Though no longer required by the Library of Congress, it could be a crucial asset if litigious disputes should eventually arise. Additionally, displaying the symbol on all works posted online instills a sense of value in what readers are consuming and could deter misappropriation.

Another key element in broader digital authorship strategies is negotiating royalty rates with distributors. Although some question the relevance of so-called middlemen and gatekeepers in the digital era, several models still help authors expand their audiences with superior efficiency than truly independent publication.This marketplace is evolving in real-time as well, making it all the more important to track and compare the merits of existing and emerging approaches.

Peter Ackerman

Peter Ackerman

Founder & CEO, Innovation Asset Group, Inc.