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Magazines > Information Today > January/February 2018

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Information Today
Vol. 35 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2018
Copyright Clearance Center at 40
by Corilee Christou

As Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, it continues to create new products while enriching earlier ones—all of which provides key benefits to both its participating publishers and users. Founded in 1978 based on a recommendation by Congress, CCC’s original platform was primarily manual. Subscribing customers, mostly libraries, reported (annually, monthly, or more frequently) the number of photocopies of identified books and articles they had made and that required permissions. Based on these reports, CCC staffers would calculate permissions fees (from prices set by individual copyright holders) and bill the customers. The customers would then make payments to CCC, which were remitted to the appropriate rightsholders (minus CCC’s service fee). CCC’s current offerings have come a long way from this initial, labor-intensive effort, and it has become one of the most agile and innovative providers of publisher and user solutions for reuse and discovery options in the digital age.

According to CCC’s About page, it aims to “make it easy for people to get, use and share content worldwide, while protecting the interests of creators, publishers and other copyright holders. Our vision is to create global licensing and content solutions that make copyright work.” Currently, 35,000 companies, hundreds of academic institutions, and 12,000 publishers use CCC products and services. In 2015, it distributed more than $206 million in royalties to publishers and earned more than $305 million.

There is no doubt that content is still king; albeit now even more so as mass media has become even-more-massive media. Digital transformation—and all that it entails—is the single most desired and disruptive element for publishers today. As they struggle with employing digital platforms and as users try to locate relevant content, each entity attempts to better understand what it may do with the content.

Throughout its existence, CCC has been at the center of facilitating content use and reuse by both understanding and attempting to meet its users’ and contributors’ needs and demands. CCC’s current offerings reflect these efforts and feature several tools, both new and old, that enable efficient content management, discovery, and rights clearance.

Developing the Right(s) Tools

Recognizing and embracing the growing digital environment, CCC introduced its RightsLink for Permissions feature in 2001 primarily as a tool that could be embedded on publisher websites to link from their content to the associative rights and buying options. According to Lauren Tulloch, CCC’s VP of product, “RightsLink provides a powerful transaction engine to facilitate permission and reprint requests for copyrighted articles, images, and new media content right from their web sites. Each year between 75,000 and 100,000 unique buyers from corporations, publishers, academic institutions, and other organizations visit RightsLink to obtain permission to re-use content in a variety of ways. The majority of those purchases are from about 40 publisher implementations. In addition, CCC’s republication service offers centralized rights purchases across hundreds of additional publishers on the web site.”

In 2013, CCC was named as one of “10 to Watch” in Outsell, Inc.’s “Open Access: Market Size, Share, Forecast, and Trends” report. The following year, it launched RightsLink for Open Access, a transaction engine for managing article-publication charges (APCs), submission fees, cover charges, and author reprints and eprints. This tool is used by 25 publishers and covers nearly 1,500 journals. In early 2018, “RightsLink for Open Access will release an OA Approval workflow that will automate authors’ OA funding requests using agreement-based business rules and enable publishers, institutions, and funders to manage and report on transactions. This new functionality provides connections among the stakeholders—authors, publishers, and funders—improving the experience for authors and driving costs out of managing APCs,” says Tulloch.

Not one to stand still, CCC was once again on the “10 to Watch” list, this time in Outsell’s 2016 “Text and Data Mining: Technologies Under Construction” report, in which Outsell examined how scientific researchers use text and data mining. This followed CCC’s 2015 launch of RightFind XML for Mining. Deni Auclair, who at the time was Outsell’s VP and lead analyst for the STM and healthcare information space, said in a press release that “CCC’s RightFind XML for Mining is the first commercial tool of its kind directed at the information industry, coupling content licensing with text mining-ready content. The tool addresses research pain points by aggregating articles in XML, a structured format for mining; normalizing the content; and licensing that content for legal use” (

Babis Marmanis, CTO and VP of engineering and product development at CCC, said in the same press release, “RightFind XML for Mining accelerates research and plays a catalytic role in innovation because it eliminates many of the practical challenges involved in the research workflow. It allows researchers to focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.”

RightFind XML for Mining is built on the RightFind platform, CCC’s suite of cloud-based workflow solutions that offer immediate, easy access to a full range of STM-related, peer-reviewed content. Researchers can identify and download full-text articles, both from publications to which they subscribe and from those outside of their subscriptions. They can export the content in XML format to their selected text-mining tool. “Our primary focus has been on the life sciences market, as these organizations are farthest along in their sophistication with text mining and their need for full-text machine readable content and text mining rights,” says Tulloch. “However, we have also seen significant interest from food and chemical companies that also use a great deal of scientific content and to include that content in their text mining projects.”

There are now more than 50 publishers participating in RightFind XML for Mining, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Annual Reviews, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, the Royal Society of Chemistry, SAGE, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley. They offer nearly 9 million full-text articles from more than 8,000 journal titles.

In addition to RightFind XML for Mining, CCC currently provides several solutions for customers’ rights acquisition, rights management, and content management needs: RightFind, RightFind Enterprise, RightFind Document Delivery, RightFind Business Intelligence, and RightFind Music. RightFind Enterprise is one of the more popular solutions, with more than 180 participating corporations and more than 150,000 users. Tackling one of the toughest issues for corporate researchers, RightFind Enterprise “provides employees with fast, easy access to high-value scientific, technical, and medical information in a single platform,” says Tulloch. “RightFind enables researchers to quickly obtain and share published information from internal collections, company subscriptions, Open Access sources and document delivery, all while managing copyright compliance. RightFind integrates seamlessly with CCC’s annual copyright licenses to make copyright-compliant sharing of published information easier. RightFind Business Intelligence provides industry-leading content analytics, detailed reporting, and easy to use dashboards to help customers understand content usage patterns and make data-driven decisions for their libraries.”

Future Insight

There’s more coming soon to a computer near you. In early 2018, CCC will be releasing RightFind Insight, a module that combines SciBite’s semantic capabilities with comprehensive, full-text search to provide relevant content to users. And there’s more on the way that will support and capture even more of publisher workflows. In 2016, CCC acquired Ixxus, a supplier of enterprise content management solutions. Although it seemed to be an unusual acquisition at first, when viewed from a digital transformation perspective, it makes sense. On May 3, 2016, Porter Anderson wrote in Publishing Perspectives, “Ixxus’ suite of services includes the Ixxus Publishing Modules, which are a set of ‘deployment-ready software components.’ For example, there is the Ixxus Design Hub [IDH], which ‘plugs directly into Adobe InDesign to easily and automatically convert books and publications into fixed-layout EPUBs, PDFs, and HTML files. Working with the rich-media potential of EPUB3, IDH allows you to include such interactive features as pop-up messages, video clips, or custom JavaScript-based widgets.’”

In its press release announcing the acquisition, CCC noted, “According to The Radicati Group, the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) market will grow from $5.5 billion in 2014 to more than $9.4 billion in 2018. This is an average annual growth of 15% over that timeframe. The Ixxus proposition goes beyond the traditional ECM offering, combining content modeling, semantic linking and advanced workflow capabilities to support the publishing process from end to end and deliver truly ‘smart content’” (

Further confirming the rationale behind the acquisition is a March 2017 study commissioned by Ixxus and CCC ( In it, “[p]ublishing executives were asked to score their current capabilities and planned future investments in five main elements of digital transformation: content storage, metadata, content agility, discoverability and collaboration.” According to a press release, key findings include the following:

  • Metadata is a top priority: Metadata ranked as the highest priority for publishers across all verticals (4.6 out of 5), but also represented the largest gap in current organizational ability (2 out of 5). Determined to overcome key challenges and make strategic investments to accelerate their progress, 90 percent of all publishers are planning to invest in metadata over the next three years.
  • Discoverability is a close second: Publishers ranked discoverability as the second most important transformation element (4.5 out of 5) and felt that current abilities were the highest in this category (2.5 out of 5). Roughly 30 percent of publishers reported recent efforts in platform, widget and partner services, with an additional 30 percent actively reviewing new tools to help end users discover content.
  • Content agility is most meaningful to education publishers: Content agility ranked as the third most important element of digital transformation, with a variance across verticals. Education publishers put a higher emphasis on this element as it is a key enabler to personalized learning, targeted content and predictive analytics.

CCC’s president and CEO, Tracey Armstrong, said in a statement that content management is a top priority for CCC. A recap of the capabilities CCC has assembled in the last 2 years shows that the organization is uniquely positioned to capture the needs and desires of publishers in many of the areas referenced previously—content management, search, discovery, and delivery.

CCC and Ixxus are currently working with individual RightFind clients to leverage Ixxus’ systems integration expertise and content management capabilities in a variety of ways, including development of a portal for aggregation and centralized search of disparate content sources as well as efficient processing, enrichment, and management of data feeds. These customer-specific projects will form the foundation of product enhancements that will be available to the broader RightFind customer base. The combined CCC and Ixxus teams also work with publishing clients to integrate CCC’s rights-licensing capabilities into their broader enterprise CMS.

CCC continues to successfully connect the dots for both publishers and users. 2018 promises to be an even more exciting year of new products and services from this truly innovative and strategically directed organization. CCC is now uniquely positioned in the content management space, with additional solutions available in search, discovery, and delivery.

Corilee Christou is president of C2 Consulting, a firm that specializes in leveraging and licensing digital content of all types to traditional and internet-based companies using new and innovative business models. Send your comments about this article to