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iCopyright Releases Beta Version of News-Clipping Service
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Posted On September 9, 2002
iCopyright, a privately held company that enables copyright compliance and instant licensing of digital content on participating publishers' Web sites, has announced the beta release of iCopyright Clip and Copy, a free news-clipping service that searches topics set by readers and returns results that can be licensed for reuse instantly, based on the publisher's price and terms of use. Customers can choose an unlimited number of topics on which to search.

Clip and Copy sends users an e-mail (daily, weekly, or monthly) that includes headlines and article summaries, along with the names of the publications in which they appeared. A link to each story is also provided so that readers can visit the publisher's Web site and review the full story. Each summary also includes a "Copy It" link that lets readers make copies or acquire other licensing rights.

"With the launch of Clip and Copy, iCopyright steps up its efforts to help our publishing partners increase their digital licensing revenues," said Mike O'Donnell, iCopyright CEO. "The Instant Clearance Service provides the mechanism; Clip and Copy drives the traffic."

O'Donnell also stressed the economy and convenience the service offers to users. "While other Web-clipping services charge subscription fees regardless of the relevancy of their search, Clip and Copy is free and returns highly accurate results. Plus, every single article it finds can be licensed instantly to be posted on a Web site, photocopied, or printed for distribution."

Since its launch in 1998, iCopyright has developed two services that work together to create a rights and permissions licensing program that's easy for customers to use and efficient for publishers to manage. The Instant Clearance Service is a fully automated online fulfillment and payment resource that allows site visitors to license, purchase, and receive content for commercial reuse. Customers can buy the articles they want, when they need them. iCopyright Publisher Central is a suite of Web-based tools and services that allows publishers to run reports and manage their Instant Clearance Service offerings through a secure, password-protected site. The launch of iCopyright Clip and Copy could prove to be an attractive way to drive additional traffic and sales—if enough customers sign on with iCopyright accounts. Even if an e-mail service is free, customers still have to take the initiative to sign up.

iCopyright says that more than 200 publications, including Reuters.com, SmartMoney.com, and PRIMEDIA Business, currently use the Instant Clearance Service to automate the licensing process. Browsing through the list, however, shows an eclectic mix of some fairly specialized titles, such as Ward's Auto World and Western Farm Press, but it also includes the Los Angeles Times and Newsweek. Users can indicate the publications they would like to have included in the service and iCopyright will contact the publisher. To attract more purchasing consumers, it seems that the service will need to establish more of a critical mass and add some additional big name news sources.

O'Donnell also admitted that educating people about licensing content continues to be a challenge. "The whole area of rights and permissions, reprints, photocopies—it's new and confusing to many people who think they can just copy anything."

Currently, the Clip and Copy searching only accommodates AND, OR, and NOT queries and an asterisk as a wild-card character at the end of a word. The full version of Clip and Copy, which will include expanded search capabilities, is due to be introduced by the fourth quarter of this year. According to O'Donnell, the release will feature an expanded content base that may also contain articles not under agreement with iCopyright. This would then involve an additional step to secure a licensing arrangement. He also said the company would offer an instant keyword search capability for articles directly from the iCopyright site, without signing up for the Clip and Copy e-mail service.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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