The following is a synopsis of the best practices tips provided by iCopyright, as published in Publishing Executive Magazine. These five tips help publishers to preserve their rights and maximize revenues from their content. See all 13 tips as published in pubexec.com.
1. Licensing Should Be Instant
Every article should be available for instant licensing. If there is no mechanism, human nature being what it is, users will simply cut, copy and paste the content. Directing users to call, fax, or fill-out some generic form for rights and permissions does not work. The mechanism to license needs to be present at the user's point of contact with the content. If the mechanism is present, most users will do the right thing and use it.
Publishing content with no mechanism to license it instantly is like having a store with no cash register and no way to accept payment.
2. The Content Should Be Stamped with a Compliance Verification ID and Downloadable Immediately
A digital license should be obtainable within one minute. The licensed content should be downloadable by the licensee, along with the proof of license, upon completing the transaction. Users won't wait days or weeks to obtain the licensed content, with the exception of reprints (which still takes too long in today's world). Most people need it right away and are "hot" to buy upon reading the piece. Don't expect them to call or suffer a long purchase or permissions waiting period. They will either "take it" without permission or find a similar piece for reuse from another publisher.
3. Free Uses Should Link to Paid Uses, Convey the Publisher's Copyright
Free uses drive sales of paid uses. Publishers should offer a limited number of free uses, such as the ability to email the article, print the article, or save the article for free, in limited quantities and accompanied by ads. If users want more quantities, with no ads, they should be able to "upgrade" to paid licenses. Many publishers include a link to email, print, and save articles, but fail to communicate their copyrights and limits to the reuse. They unknowingly grant users an implied license to do whatever they want with the content. If publishers include these links, they should expressly communicate their copyrights. They should state a limit, such as no more than 10 emails or 10 copies. They should cross-link users to paid uses for additional quantities.
4. Licensing Options Should Suit a Variety of Purposes and Budgets
The more reuse options a user has, the higher the probability that the user will buy. People like to have choices. Publishers should offer a wide variety of reuse options, clearly categorized to suite a variety of budgets. Not every user has the budget to afford $5,000 custom color reprints, but many will pay $50 to $500 for black and white photocopies.
5. Every License Should Offer Recipients Additional Licenses
Every license granted (sold) should empower hyperdistribution and additional sales. That means that every article sold should give the recipients the ability to purchase their own licenses to use the content. For example, if a publisher sells an online user the rights to make 50 copies, the copies should include a copyright notation and link that allows the 50 people who get the copies to purchase rights of their own. A licensee (customer) becomes a marketer and reseller of the publisher's content.
Another good example is a license to republish the article on a company web site or social networking site such as Facebook. The article may be seen by thousands of other people who never would have seen it on the publisher's web site. The article includes the publisher's brand and links back to the publisher's website, attracting new visitors, new subscribers and new licensees for the publisher.