In its continuing effort to reinterpret its mission for the digital age, the 21-year-old Copyright Clearance Center, established in 1978 at the suggestion of Congress to facilitate copyright compliance, has seen its Web business grow. In fact, noted Liz Johnson, CCC's v-p for marketing, in contrast to many Internet businesses, "We make money on the Web." For the fiscal year ended June 30, 1998, CCC distributed a total of $41.6 million in royalties to its members.
In areas such as transactional reporting of photocopying, 90% of CCC's business is now conducted on the Web, and its two-year-old Mira program is an entirely Web-based stock photography agency. Mira users can order images over the Web, which are delivered on CD the next business morning.
CCC president and CEO Joseph Alen told PW that the Danvers, Mass.- based nonprofit now handles one million rights transactions a year and that its biggest challenge is servicing the copyright needs of the digital age. In the short term, CCC's goal, said Alen, is to create "a seamless web of rights management services. We're offering services to publishers that are deeper and wider than just secondary uses. We're going more global, expanding into other areas and selling images to publishers. We're going to see new forms of content, as well as seamless links to content."
CCC is also involved in monitoring the impact of copyright legislation, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act enacted by Congress last October. CCC has testified before Congress regarding recommendations in section 403 of the DMCA on copyright exemptions for distance education materials.
In the 1980s it took important court rulings against Texaco and Kinko's to restrain corporate photocopying and deter the use of photocopied college coursepacks. Now as more colleges make use of distance learning programs, the compliance challenges come from the ease of digital copying and inexpensive photoscanners.
Among CCC's new rights management services, Bruce Funkhouser, CCC's v-p of business operations, pointed to its Electronic Course Content Service, which manages digital permissions and royalties for electronic programs, electronic coursepacks and distance learning, much like CCC's paper coursepack permission service. "There is a marketplace for this," said Funkhouser. "It's a copyright solution that's beginning to work." Funkhouser expects ECCS, which was launched in 1997, to have more than 1000 publishers enrolled by early spring, many of which joined in part out of concern about the DMCA distance learning exemptions. With the Association of American Publishers, the CCC jointly employs a full-time staffperson who visits college campuses to help with compliance. And CCC is also developing a digital counterpart to ECCS for the corporate side.
Both of these new programs reflect the rapid shift from paper to digital networks and point to the continuing effort to make CCC what Funkhouser calls "the one-stop shop" for rights and content.