Thursday, March 13, 2008

For the Record: PARS Doesn't "Get It"

iCopyright is proud to have strong partnerships with a number of leading reprint companies, including FosteReprints, Wrights Reprints, The Reprint Licensing Centre, and Red Rover. We operate an "open platform" that these reprint companies can use to better serve their publisher clients and the companies that buy reprints. Many publishers that manage reprints internally also use iCopyright to generate more reprint sales. In fact, just about every reprint company and every publisher reprint department that has taken the time to test iCopyright, has adopted it. We are happy to supply references to anyone who wants them.

We appreciate that not every reprint company wants to partner with iCopyright. What we don't appreciate are false or misleading reasons a reprint company gives a publisher client for not wanting to partner with iCopyright. We believe they have a responsibility to their clients to be honest about the pros and cons. On that note, we wish to set the record straight with one such reprint company.

We recently came into possession of a memo written by Steve Mussman of PARS (Publisher Ancillary Revenue Services) to one of his publisher clients, regarding iCopyright. The memo contained so many false and misleading statements, it was obvious to us that PARS does not understand the iCopyright technology and the role it plays for reprint companies and publishers. Either that, or Mr. Mussman has some personal grudge to bare. We take great pride in iCopyright, so we think it is only appropriate that we set the record straight.

Mussman: iCopyright has "failed to gain significant traction in the marketplace."

The truth is that iCopyright has been more widely deployed by publishers than any other solution and certainly has far more publication clients than does PARS.

Mussman: "...the most prevalent comment about the performance of [iCopyright] is the COMPLETE LACK OF REVENUE GENERATION!"

The truth is that iCopyright is not used exclusively by publishers to generate revenue. It is used to communicate and preserve the publisher's rights, provide for the "free use" of the publisher's content, generate valuable data on how the publisher's content is being used and by whom, among many other purposes. Mr. Mussman makes this statement as if every one of his clients generates a lot of revenue. The fact is they do not. PARS can not control any more than iCopyright can whether the content has "resale" value or whether anyone wants to buy it.

Mussman: "Several publishers have even gone so far as to remove the option from their website(s) because the administrative effort was not being offset by the revenue it was generating."

The truth is that iCopyright requires no administrative effort. Once the publisher adds the iCopyright tags to their CMS, the automated system does the work -- including sending leads for reprints to the publisher's reprint company or internal staff. While many publishers choose to use their iCopyright Console to modify prices, add new licensing services, run reports and the like, there is no requirement to do so. While it is true that a few publishers have ceased using iCopyright, the number is no doubt far less than the number of publishers who once used PARS, but now use another reprint company or handle reprints internally.

Mussman: "It is obvious to us that both systems [he is speaking of iCopyright and Rightslink] are trying to garner (aggregate) as much content as possible for their own enrichment."

The truth is that iCopyright takes a far less percentage for its services than does PARS. The value iCopyright provides is indisputable, which is why so many publishers and reprint companies use it. Mr. Mussman makes this statement as if he is not in business to "enrich" himself.

Mussman: "Our point was that the amount of permission requests received would almost certainly not increase due to the incorporation of [iCopyright]."

The truth is that most publishers who have implemented iCopyright have experienced a significant increase in the number of permission requests. The reason is simple: permissions are available instantly at the user's first point of contact with the article. The user just has to click to buy an instant license or to order reprints. To get reprints from PARS, a user must wait for someone from PARS to call. That simply does not scale. In fact, there is no way for PARS to know who to call. They don't know who is reading an article at any one moment and might be interested in buying it. iCopyright knows that and can immediately engage the reader and facilitate a reprint order.

Mussman: "We have also discovered first hand that by incorporating such a service that many publishers have in-fact seen adverse effects on the amount of leads and revenue generated by their CORE reprint program(s)."

This is a patently false statement and shows how ignorant Mr. Mussman is about the role that iCopyright plays. Mr. Mussman is under the mistaken belief that every person who might be interested in using the article, wants custom reprints and has several thousand dollars to spend. There are all kinds of things that people want to do with a piece besides reprint it. In fact, iCopyright offers 20 different types of licenses. The reprint companies that iCopyright works with will testify that iCopyright has generated reprint leads for them that they would not have received otherwise, and does provide a mechanism for people who initially express interest in purchasing a lower-priced license to upgrade to custom reprints.

Mussman: "We have been and continue to be concerned that these programs offer users a significantly lower priced alternative upfront!"

On that score, Mr. Mussman has it exactly right. iCopyright does indeed offer users lower priced alternatives for the reuse of the publisher's content. Mr Mussman simply fails to understand that the vast majority of these people are not in the market for expensive reprints to begin with. Best that the publisher offers them affordable options to generate some revenue, rather than no revenue, and discourages these people from cutting and pasting the content without permission -- which is what many do when no alternatives are available.

Mussman: "Many times when a user requests a product or service they do so without knowing the full range of options available to them and therefore tend to choose the least expensive alternative."

The truth is that iCopyright is the ONLY system that offers users a full range of options -- over 20 instant licensing and custom licensing services. PARS offers a limited set of services, which are much more expensive, and typically require days if not weeks for the user to receive.

Mussman: "Our staff is trained to ask probing questions to determine the user’s true needs along with the size and scope of their budgets. This probing usually results in up-sell opportunities and/or cross sell opportunities that cannot be accomplished online by an automated system. "

Wrong again, Mr. Mussman. iCopyright is the only system that offers LIVE SUPPORT on every article. Users can chat with a licensing agent as they are reading the article to discuss their needs and their budget and be directed to the right service. If a user wants to speak with PARS, they first must find the phone number (unlike iCopyright, it is not posted on every article) and make a call.

iCopyright is a transparent system for automated permissions and reprint sales. We conduct our business the same way -- transparently and honestly. We trust PARS will do the same. We have even recommended PARS to publishers who were looking to hire a reprint company. We don't expect the same courtesy, but we do expect them not to misrepresent the facts.

Mike O'Donnell
Chief Executive Officer

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