Posts Tagged ‘licensing’


How Do I Monitor Content Behind the Paywall?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

With the financial struggles of news organizations and the proliferation of free online content, paywalls are becoming commonplace. But how are you going to see all your coverage once all publications go paywall? As publishers have found new ways of monetizing their content, if you can’t get behind the paywall, it’s trickier to fully monitor your media mentions. As a monitoring service with licensing agreements, we are comprehensive and don’t face the legal woes and challenges of some aggregations services.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has even devised a new initiative to ensure companies are properly accessing content, and in case anyone thought the industry wasn’t taking this seriously, they’re even offering anonymous rewards of up to $1 million to those who report illegal use of content.

But how are public relations practitioners supposed to get a comprehensive picture of their media coverage if they can’t see what’s behind the paywall?

Enlist a media monitoring service that has licensing agreements with publishers.

Services like BurrellesLuce that have a turnkey copyright compliance program ensure users see the full picture of their coverage by providing content from behind the paywall that other services can’t access. To name just one example, our agreement with The New York Times means that our users are the only ones seeing all channels of their content. We have long supported publishers by ensuring fair use, via royalty fees, of their content within the public relations community.

Why is it so important that PR pros choose a service with licensing agreements? Because you want service you can count on, both in knowing that the provider can alert you to all content about your organization and that you don’t have unnecessary liability exposure. You also don’t want to leave yourself or your organization vulnerable to legal action for distributing content without proper licenses (review our post about what you need to know about copyright compliance for more on how).

It’s also important to choose a service with licensing agreements because public relations relies heavily on the media to help get out messages, reach an audience, and tell a story. For all of our talk of community, each time we copy and use an article without consideration for the author or fair use, are we being true to our cause, or are we being pirates?

How has your organization dealt with licensing and compliance, and what further steps are being taken to ensure compliance?

Broadcast Copyright Case Headed to Supreme Court

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014
flickr user dbking under CC BY license

flickr user dbking under CC BY license

There’s yet another news aggregator copyright case to keep your eye on – and this one will be in the Supreme Court. In 2012, ABC (American Broadcasting Companies, a consortium of television broadcasters) filed suit against Aereo, a service that transmits over-the-air TV signals using tiny antennas that allow users to watch online streaming broadcasts. Aereo subscribers pay a monthly fee, but Aereo has no paid licensing with broadcasters.

ABC v. Aereo seems like another of the many publisher-versus-aggregator news appropriation cases we’ve covered, only this time it’s broadcast television. The case has been going on for a while, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on April 22.

The most recent press has been full of support for ABC; both the U.S. copyright office and the Department of Justice filed an amicus brief stating that Aereo is infringing on broadcast copyright. Add to that two of the nation’s foremost legal experts on copyright law, UCLA School of Law professor David Nimmer and UC Berkeley School of Law Professor Peter Menell also filed a brief in support of the broadcasters. And then add the amicus brief filed by the National Football League and Major League Baseball, who receive about a hundred million dollars from broadcasters for licensing from cable in addition to potentially billions of dollars in retransmission fees for sports rights.

One would think things were looking good for ABC, but keep in mind that in the initial case in March, 2012, the judge ruled in favor of Aereo, a ruling that was upheld in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Without delving into all the legal rules and technical precedents, this is an interesting case because while it looks like classic publisher-vs-aggregator, the fact that it’s broadcast (which has had to deal with the advent of Beta Max, VCRs, and DVRs) and not written-word news content makes this an entirely different ballgame.

What does that mean for the PR pro? It means that despite the abundance of copyright cases and rulings, copyright is still a convoluted issue, and it’s still of the utmost importance to understand not only fair use, but other copyright implications as well. It’s also yet another reminder that though licensing may seem expensive, it’s important and vital to our industry that relies so heavily on media content and the continued success of media outlets.

It will be interesting to see how the case plays out and how the Supreme Court rules, but either way, the ruling could spell out a new future for broadcasting and copyright.

Amazon, Apple, Google Race to Dominate the Cloud-Based Music Sharing Arena

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Record labels are once again under attack from the Internet, this time by companies eager to jump into the red hot “online music storage” arena. After what the labels have been through the last several years, you can bet they’ll be better prepared this time. Apple and Google have been working diligently on a new music sharing model which promises to give music fans more flexibility in accessing their media, wherever they iStock_000001626968XSmallare rather than tying them to a particular computer or mobile device (a service known as a music locker). Google, however, hasn’t been able to deliver anything to this point, despite promising to launch their service as far back as last Christmas. And neither has Apple’s which hasn’t launched yet. But surprisingly it was Amazon who became the first media company to launch a cloud-based consumer service – deciding to take a bold “Napster- like” approach last month with the launch of their version called “Cloud Drive,” as reported in this New York Times article.

Amazon initially thought they were sidestepping the sensitive music licensing problem by allowing its customers to upload their songs in MP3 or A.A.C. format and then storing it in the cloud, enabling consumers to play the music on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac or PC, regardless of where they were. “We don’t need a license to store music,” said Craig Pape, director of music at Amazon in this Reuters article. “The functionality is the same as an external hard drive.” 

What Amazon neglected to do was license the rights, for this type of activity, from the major Hollywood film studios and record companies. The labels immediately fired back, but rather than engage in a nasty drawn out lawsuit the two sides quickly realized they needed each other (for now anyway) to compete in this new music sharing market, fueled by the changing desires of the consumer. Amazon is currently engaged in talks with all members of the big four (Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Group, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group) to discuss how this latest business model can make sense for both sides. If the two sides come to an agreement, the way we access music will change dramatically once again; however, the question remains, how will the music industry be affected by this sudden access to online stored music files. And other than the consumer, who stands to benefit the most from this new platform?

David Bowie predicted in 2002 that music would become “like running water or electricity,” notes this article penned by John Naughton, The Observer. At the time of the original interview, Apple’s iPod had only just been released. Bowie understood that “iPod users were, in fact, the audio equivalent of travelers to primitive countries who carry bottled water because public supplies are unreliable or unsafe. In a comprehensively networked world, Bowie surmised, people would eventually become more relaxed about carrying their supplies of bottled music: when they needed it, they would just get it streamed from the network.”

I wonder what artists think of their content, once again, being downloaded and potentially shared by millions of people without a licensing arrangement on the table. Will Mick Jagger shout, “Hey! You! Get off of my cloud” (ok, that one was too easy) or will Rihanna say, “Come on, come on, I like it, like it.”?

The music industry continues to struggle to keep up with the consumer’s demands, but finally appears to have recognized its better in the long run to accommodate music fans rather than waste time in court.

What are your thoughts? How do you think cloud-sharing with affect the music and media industries? Share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Part 2: Licensing – Monetizing Content in a 30-Second World

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

In my previous post published earlier this week, I suggested that content providers just come up with a way to charge for the use of the article when somebody reads the whole article instead of the hextract (header/extract)… do this regardless of whether that somebody is the first reader of the article or the recipient of it being passed along in an email. Make the charge a passive transaction and at a price the consumer considers fair. So the question on the table is why this hasn’t been done?

Pondering this question, two phrases immediately come to mind: “The Inventor’s Dilemma” (aPart 2: Licensing and Monetizing Content in a 30-second World great book by Clayton Christensen, 1997), and “like turning an aircraft carrier around.” The legacy environment is blinding. At the heart, though, I believe, is the much bantered-about idea of “engaging the consumer.” This is the “buzz” used by the folks attempting to do the engaging. The consumer is evidently not getting the message that they are being engaged; at least not by The Media companies’ definition, which is about adopting and paying according to its rules of engagement.

I was at a conference last fall with a significant number of aspiring media titans in attendance. The panels focused on devices, technology, and the creation of apps to support their existing revenue models. My takeaway was the tremendous amount of energy going into convincing the consumer of what their, the consumers’, needs are instead of discovering and meeting those needs that already exist.

This contrast became more apparent with the remarks of each and every one of the CEO keynotes: Jason Kilar, Hulu; William Lynch, Barnes and Noble; and Oprah Winfrey, OWN. They all shouted about the key to success being the result of a dialog with the customer, listening to them, and giving them what they wanted. The panelist’s focus was certainly not the result of these folks being from a culture that celebrates entrepreneurial thinking. The legacy rules discourage divisional collaboration and non-linear approaches. You don’t get your own castle without being able to protect the moat. Problem is that the market in which these rules worked moved and it didn’t happen in the dead of night.

The old marketplace based on scarcity of information has left the building and with it the providers’ absolute control of access.

So what to do . . . ?

After having given this way too much thought, I would suggest an industry strategic planning meeting be convened with a very select group of players. I would gather together Hearst’s Frank Bennack, Advance’s Donald or Stephen Newhouse, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Barnes and Noble’s William Lynch, and Clay Shirky, who consults, teaches, and writes on the social economic effects of Internet technologies. I would also include Ken Doctor, a leading news industry analyst, as the scribe. The group should be sequestered for a week and then every six months reconvene to make adjustments. With all the exclusive consortiums in play targeting “low hanging fruit,” this is one consortium that could actually move the needle, and create enough disruptive engagement to get all those “mortgages” paid for a long, long time.

My guess is that, in the end, a process of marking, tracking, and monetizing will emerge. The only absolute is that time is of the essence in the 30-second world or information.

Part 1: Licensing – Monetizing Content in a 30-Second World

Monday, January 24th, 2011

My name is Dan Schaible. In past lives, I accrued 27 years working in newspapers for large media companies including Newhouse, Murdoch, Thompson, and Hearst. I worked in advertising, production, labor, and IT.  I currently handle the relationships with content providers for the pre-eminent American brand in full-service media monitoring, planning, and measurement – BurrellesLuce. This position, with the experience of those past lives, allows me a broad view of the media industry and the challenges it faces.Copyright sign

The challenges are formidable and immediate. More importantly, however, I see tremendous opportunity.

Let me start by saying that content is not free. But let me also quickly emphasize that content must not be perceived as expensive either. It has to compete with free or at least the perception that content is free.

Information is, ultimately, created by people with mortgages to pay – even corporate titans have a roof expense; some are just larger than others.

People, individually and as part of an enterprise, want more and more of this information, and they want it in real-time. The information-consumer is not really concerned with the technology. They just want what they want, when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. Most users of content are not going to go beyond their usual routines to get info. They are not really concerned with platforms or formats. They are all about convenience; their convenience. In general, they are impatient, conditioned as they are by the 30-second sound bite, the 140-character tweet, and of most importance, the compilation of “hextracts” (headline/extract) and associated links as search or news results, which, by the way, will continue to defy monetization. Oh, and they want this all for free.

I am convinced that, even in the digital world, there is still and there will continue to be a place for full publication and page formats. This falls mostly within the areas of individual use and first use. These formats have an advertising and/or subscription component to provide some support for the creators’ mortgage payment, as long as the payments have been modified.

The 30-second formats are now clearly the largest format in use for the delivery of content to the user. The users receiving information in this “bite” format represent both individual and enterprise, initial use and reuse and generally do not provide support from advertising – except when the consumer occasionally follows the link to the article. These 30-second formats are all about the article format standing alone. Focus on monetizing the article will provide the big win/win for the consumer and the provider. Did I mention this is my view we are talking about here?

So, pretty simple right? Just come up with a way to charge for the use of the article when somebody reads the whole article instead of the hextract. Do this regardless of whether that somebody is the first reader of the article or the recipient of it being passed along in an email. Make the charge a passive transaction and at a price the consumer considers fair (I can hear Clay Shirky from here on that statement).The technology to do just this is actually, for the most part, already in existence.

Then why hasn’t it been done?

In my next post, I will provide my own take on this.