Access Copyright upgrades to ease licensing process

A Canadian non-profit agency has created a custom database to manage the reproduction and digital use of books, articles, photographs, illustrations and other copyrighted materials.

Access Copyright, based in Toronto,

said its Rights Management System (RMS) will include more than 750,000 works at launch. Affiliated creators and publishers will be able to check the database and enter additional bibliographic material to the system. Access Copyright will approve the entries, at which point they will be updated into production. Access Copyright also has a commitment from the Collecting and Licensing Society of Britain to provide the organization with another 700,000 works.

Access Copyright has licensees across Canada, except for Quebec. Key clients include elementary schools, post-secondary institutions, corporation and libraries, who use it to request copyrighted material for secondary uses like photocopies and posting on a secure intranet.

Judy Mark, Access Copyright’s director of finance and operations, said the organization wanted to move away from what she described as an “”Informix-like”” proprietary legacy database and offer something that would make it easier to obtain a licence.

“”Part of the challenge is data exchange — both receiving data from licensees and rights holders — but also providing data back to those stakeholders,”” she said.

TheWeb-based RMS runs on Oracle‘s 9i database software and will manage membership information, licensing and royalty distribution to publishers and rights holders. Oracle9i Application Server will generate reports of account balances, licensing information and invoice summaries, while Oracle Financials will be integrated on the back end.

Henk Dykhuizen, Oracle Canada’s vice-president of government, education and health care, said Access Copyright is one of many organizations moving to enterprise tools with a more robust reputation.

“”What they’re most concerned about is obviously scaleability — being able to handle a much greater flow of customers online,”” he said. “”I think complexity-wise it didn’t change that much. Just on the back end, it was more trustworthy.””

Security is controlled by a user name and password which will be issued by Access Copyright, according to Access Copyright IT manager Aijaz Qureshi. E-commerce transactions will be protected by digital certificates on the production server that go through 128-bit encryption.

While implementing the Oracle-based system, Access Copyright has also redesigned the affiliation agreement which will provide the organization with what Mark called “”a broad branch of rights for specific uses in the digital world.”” This will allow it to have some permissions in place prior to a request. Some of those agreements are still coming in, however, and approaching rights holders individually can take time.

“”The mechanics of it, certainly, will be a lot easier,”” she said. “”Whether or not a rights holder wants to provide those grants, the system doesn’t change anything.””

The RMS also provides a platform that could allow Access Copyright to add functionality, Mark adds, like allowing clients to check the status of their request online.

“”As more users come on, they’ll get more suggestions on what they could add to make the users happy,”” Dykhuizen said. “”That’s the beauty of this kind of technology . . . . As new requirements come on — as they add more data types, audio and video and so on — they don’t have to again start from scratch. They can adapt those things into the application.””

Access Copyright obtained some of the funding for the project through the Federal Department of Heritage’s Electronic Copyright Fund.

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