Home Button

Klopotek Permissions and Compliance Manager – state-of-the-art rights and compliance management helps to avoid legal issues

Klopotek’s answer to the market demands: Permissions and Compliance Manager

The Permissions and Compliance Manager is designed to enable the monitoring and management of the huge amount of complex specifications and licensing agreements involved in the acquisition and licensing of content. Via a flexible, powerful and easy-to-use interface, this solution helps reduce expenses, compliance risks and vendor costs while increasing the quality, flexibility and value of the content.

Utilizing a MarkLogic database, the Permissions and Compliance Manager enables the management of the metadata required to acquire licenses, track their usage and then manage pre-publication and post-publication compliance.
The Permissions and Compliance Manager is part of Klopotek’s cloud-based platform for optimized user interaction across computers and portable devices: Klopotek STREAM.

To learn more about the Permissions and Compliance Manager, please go to www.klopotek.com and check out the ‘STREAM’ section of our website. You will find a detailed brochure on the product as well as a recording of a webinar (live presentation) with rights expert Lynette Owen.


There have been significant changes in the permissions landscape in recent years, so having the right tools and technology in place to manage these dramatic changes is crucial for modern publishing – particularly with regard to managing permissions budgets and the risks associated with failure to manage often complex compliance obligations.

Klopotek engaged the expertise of Clare Hodder of Rights2 Consultants, expert in the field of Rights and Compliance, to give her opinion and validate the requirements for publishers looking at software solutions in the rights area.

These are her answers to the questions we asked her to illustrate the market situation and demands:

Why do publishers need to start thinking more seriously about rights management?

Rights are fundamental to publishing. Our ability to disseminate our content is entirely dependent on the rights we have acquired.

In the digital world, all sales are effectively licences, licenses that give our customers a defined set of rights that enable them to use the content in the way that they choose, in return for whatever amount of money that we think that particular set of rights for that content is worth.

All of that is predicated on knowing what rights we have available to licence. If you don’t know what rights you have in your content assets and how you are able to use them, you cannot maximise the revenue you can generate from your content. 

How has digital publishing made rights management more complex? 

In the analog world, in order to answer the question ‘have we got the rights to do that?’, we only had to worry about checking a main contract, some contributor agreements and perhaps a few permissions. 

The rights needed for most of our business were standard, and we had low-tech ways of storing contract terms and could always reference them on the odd occasion something different cropped up.
Digital is different:

  • The market demands rich and sophisticated products, which can be consumed in many different formats and on multiple platforms. Consequently, products are likely to be made up of many more content assets – video clips, illustrations, maps, tables, blogs, interactive features, as well as traditional text; and a greater range of rights is required for each of them.
  • The process of seeking and obtaining rights needs to be replicated for every one of those assets and in some cases there will be multiple rights holders per asset. 
  • Rights holders are much more savvy about the value of their content and the rights that they are prepared to grant, consequently there is likely to be more negotiation, and each of the rights holders with whom we need to negotiate may offer different rights on different terms.
  • Securing rights for one project may involve multiple people, e.g. editorial staff, picture researchers, contracts teams, authors themselves, perhaps some of the clearance work has even been outsourced.  All of this means the rights picture an organisation has is dispersed and it can be difficult to put together a complete picture of what rights you have in each asset.

So, where we used to have maybe one author contract and a few permissions licences, digital means we now have:

  •   more assets,
  •   more rights holders,
  •   increased variety of rights being traded,
  •   variant terms and conditions governing the use of each asset,
  •   more people trying to keep on top of it all. 

Keeping track of rights data has never been harder.


Besides not being able to maximise the revenue potential of your content, what are other risks to not managing your rights effectively?

I think the most significant is the potential risk of infringing other people’s rights because you have used assets in ways that were not permitted in your licence agreement. Inadvertent infringement of this nature can easily occur when publishers have not kept accurate records of which assets are governed by what terms. Ultimately infringing someone else’s rights means they may decide not to work with you again, you are likely to have a hefty settlement bill to pay and you could face legal action.

Some people might think: surely legal action is not very likely for an inadvertent infringement, and anyway how likely is it that a rights holder would even know about small infringements?

They’d be surprised! Rights holders have access to tools for managing the rights they have granted, which means more visibility of what is being used, and more likelihood of you being held to account if you are not compliant.

There are now specialist law firms who are identifying copyright infringements on behalf of rights holders and pursuing claims on a ‘no win-no fee’ basis. 

Several large US publishers have been on the receiving end of such claims and there are some high-profile examples of cases which have gone against publishers resulting in them having to pay out substantial damages.

Cases are being bought not just because publishers did not secure permission for re-use of content assets, but also because although they had licences they did not comply with the terms that were granted.  They exceed print run limits, or they re-used assets in derivative products, infringing the terms and conditions set by the rights holder.

In one widely publicised case a jury awarded $150,000 for infringing licence limits on 1 single photograph.

What practical things can publishers do to help ensure they stay on top of rights management?

There are a few things, and it really depends on what sort of publishing you are doing and the range of content assets you have. I would start by conducting a rights audit to look at what assets you have, where the rights information about your assets is stored and who takes responsibility for managing rights for your assets. From there you will be able to develop a rights acquisition policy, which considers what rights you need to be acquiring in order to make your business work, and how you will ensure this is achieved. You can then start to build processes for rights acquisition, documentation and on-going management to support your policy and ensure any gaps you have identified in your audit are closed-up. It is worthwhile evaluating what systems are available which can help support your rights management activity. For example, Klopotek’s Permissions and Compliance Manager, which can streamline some of the rights management processes and help ensure you remain compliant with all the licences you have entered into.


About Rights2 Consultants

Rights2 Consultants Clare Hodder and Ruth Tellis have combined experience of over 30 years in rights and licensing for publishers and have a great understanding of the real-world rights issues facing publishers, bringing their extensive knowledge of acquisition and licensing to provide a fresh perspective and practical, no-nonsense solutions to real-world rights issues. We offer training, analysis and advice on all aspects of rights acquisition and licensing for the publishing industry.

Contact us to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can help you:
Please connect with us on LinkedIn or email us on either of the addresses below:
Clare: uk.linkedin.com/in/clarehodder ▪ clarehodderconsulting@gmail.com
Ruth: uk.linkedin.com/in/ruthptellis ▪ ruthtellis@bluebrickconsultancy.com

© for the Q/A section of this piece: Ruth Tellis & Clare Hodder, Rights2 Consultants
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© for the other parts of this piece: Klopotek

Questions? Suggestions? Feedback?

No comments
Add comment

* - required field