Creators Need to Think Beyond ‘Copyright’ to ‘Credit-Right’

Content creators and rights holders need to move beyond the business model of simply exploiting intellectual property rights to survive and grow, according to Jeff Jarvis, author of multiple books on media, professor of journalism at the journalism graduate school at the City University of New York and founder of media blog BuzzMachine.

“Copyright is one legitimate form” of making money from intellectual property creation but content creators and rights holders should consider a model of “credit right” or “provenance,” said Jarvis, speaking on a panel about media innovations at the Copyright Clearance Center’s OnCopyright 2014 conference in New York.

Jarvis was referring to creators who make a living not by selling access to their work but by claiming credit for it and finding other ways to make money using that credit; for instance, a musician who sells few records but drives ticket sales through free streams of songs on the Internet. In book publishing, the analogy would be the author whose book generates speaking engagements and job opportunities; of course, this makes most sense in the world of nonfiction.


Jarvis implored content creators to consider new business models because old ones could go away, and with little warning.

“We believe we have a constitutional right for people not to destroy our business before we reinvent it,” said Fred Seibert, media entrepreneur, television producer, and founder of children’s media company Frederator Studios. “But that’s not how it works,” he added, also speaking on the panel.

Threats to book publishers’ ability to exploit intellectual property could include piracy of books and ebooks through the Internet, declines in book-buying by consumers, particularly in favor of other media, and lowered expectations on book pricing.

Despite considerable disruption in the traditional book publishing business model over the past six years, large and small publishers alike have managed to survive and thrive, often developing new business models and revenue streams, most notably ebook distribution.


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