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It happens every day without bad intentions: content is shared via email with colleagues, stored in company databases or uploaded to the cloud. But the right to reuse and store articles is generally not included in the rights granted through subscriptions. These digital reuses need additional permissions. Reusing or storing without these rights may infringe the copyrights of others.
According to copyright law, all original creations of the human mind, once written down, are protected by copyright. In most cases, a subscription or a single purchase of an article only entitles the purchaser to read the content. Rights to reuse and store digitally are generally not included.
When companies don’t obtain the additional rights they need to reuse and store articles, authors and publishers suffer because they don’t receive the financial compensation to which they are entitled, and the companies too may suffer if they are found liable for infringement. Even unintentional infringement is still infringement.
What is copyright?
Copyright is a system of law that provides a framework for relationships between the different players in the content industries (all of whom are likely to be copyright rightsholders of one kind or another), as well as for relationships between rightsholders and the consumers of content.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property, along with trademarks and patents in all countries (for which the law tends to be roughly consistent from country to country), and along with other systems of protection for other creations (such as laws governing trade secrets, database rights, rights of publicity and the like) that may vary from country to country. Copyright encourages the development of culture, science and innovation, provides a financial benefit to copyright rightsholders for their works, and facilitates access to knowledge and entertainment for the public.
Among other things, copyright law gives copyright holders rights so they can earn compensation for their work. Whether the structure is based on the natural law underlying much Continental copyright or on the Anglo-American concept of an economic exchange of a legal monopoly from the government for production of creative works by authors and other creators, the notion of an obligation from users to pay compensation (or “remuneration”) for use of their rights to creators and other rightsholders is much the same. And, without the appropriate ability to manage those rights through permissions and licensing (including, sometimes, the right NOT to license), they won’t earn a eurocent!
More importantly, your company too protects its intellectual property – whether it’s your patented inventions or your valuable brands and other trademarks and trade secrets – and it is only appropriate that you respect others’ intellectual property as you expect others to respect your company’s.
To learn about copyright misconceptions, check out our “Top 10 Copyright Misconceptions.”
What is a copyright license?
A copyright license provides permission reuse copyrighted materials.
Colleagues reuse and store articles on a regular basis via email and cloud-based tools such as SharePoint or intranet pages. Rights are needed in order to reuse or store copyright protected material. A copyright license makes it easier for employees to lawfully reuse and store published material, and ensures that authors, publishers, and other rightsholders receive compensation for their works.
What is the VG WORT Digital Copyright License and why do I need it?
The VG WORT Digital Copyright License from VG WORT is for German companies and their global subsidiaries. The VG WORT Digital Copyright License allows employees to legally reuse, store and distribute copyright-protected content within their organization.
Please review the permission grid to see the full list of what you can do with the license.
When do you need the VG WORT Digital Copyright License?
- If you and your colleagues reuse, reproduce, or store digital information in your day to day work
- If compliance is important to you
- If you want to respect copyright
- If you want to concentrate on your work and not have to worry about copyright infringement
What is the relationship between RightsDirect and VG WORT?
RightsDirect, a wholly owned subsidiary of Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), provides content workflow, document delivery, and rights licensing solutions that allow companies around the world to use and store content while simplifying copyright compliance. Working with partners around the world, RightsDirect offers sophisticated solutions tailored to the needs of national and global organizations. In Germany, RightsDirect is a partner of Verwertungsgesellschaft WORT (VG WORT), a collecting society that represents authors, other creators and publishers in connection with licensing their text-based copyrighted works. RightsDirect has been offering the VG WORT Digital Copyright License since 2012 on behalf of VG WORT. This license grants companies headquartered in Germany the right to reuse German and international information sources within their organizations worldwide. The license includes the rights of more than 400,000 German and international rightsholders and offers extensive coverage for companies in information-intensive industries.
How does the VG WORT Digital Copyright License work?
After your company signs the VG WORT Digital Copyright License Agreement, all of your employees are allowed to internally reuse and store lawfully-obtained copyrighted content from all of the authors, other creators and publishers who participate in VG WORT’s and RightsDirect’s services. RightsDirect manages the license process and collects the money on behalf of VG WORT, which then distributes license fees collected from licensees to participating publishers and authors. The VG WORT Digital Copyright License eliminates the need for companies to obtain individual permissions from participating copyright holders for those types of reuse of their content covered by the License.
How is my license fee determined?
The license fee is based on industry, region and number of employees. The location of any of your employees who reside outside of Germany is also factored into the price.
The prices are calculated based on historical surveys of actual use and take into account that not all of your employees may be using copyright protected content.
Why do I need to count every employee if only a small number of them work with published literature?
The price is calculated on the basis of historical surveys of actual use and is built on the total number of employees, not because every one of them makes copies but because these numbers are more consistently available throughout the globe and help to objectively determine the total usage of all copyrighted materials within an entire organization. Using these numbers eases the process for both the licensee and RightsDirect. Were numbers of “selected” employees used instead, the price-per-employee would be higher, the company and RightsDirect would have to negotiate how to count those numbers to ensure both accuracy and fairness between licensees (and RightsDirect would need more confidential information from the company, thereby increasing transaction costs), and no uncounted employee would be able to share or receive copies of the materials (meaning that storage and sharing under the license would have to be monitored intrusively or some of it would have to be forbidden).
Does license coverage extend to our foreign employees?
Under the VG WORT Digital Copyright License, employees of your organization and its subsidiaries, no matter where they are located in the world, may reuse and store the materials in the same ways as the employees located at the headquarters in Germany.
Rights Included in the VG WORT Digital Copyright License
What does the VG WORT Digital Copyright License allow me to do with copyrighted material?
The VG WORT Digital Copyright LIcense authorizes the reuse of articles on a periodic, nonsystematic basis. It is not meant to replace subscriptions or purchases of a work that you or other people in the organization need in the ordinary context of your work.
While this license greatly facilitates collaboration using copyrighted materials within your company, it does not authorize the sale of copies, fee-for-service reproduction, or the reproduction of publications in their entirety (other than single articles or chapters within a larger publication).
It also does not permit distribution of content in digital form to anyone who is not an employee of your company or authorized consultant — except in two cases: (i) in response to government filing requirements, and then only when bearing appropriate notices, and (ii) in response to a client request, in which case a single electronic copy may be delivered if authorized by the individual rightsholder. In either case, the license may not be used as a source for regular document delivery.
It is not a license to distribute paper or digital copies in a systematic way (for example, through a clipping service or any means intended to replace an employee’s need for a subscription or purchase) or to make searchable libraries or archives of materials intended to replace the need for subscriptions. For more detail about the scope of these rights, please click here to see the permission grid.
The VG WORT Digital Copyright License is a valuable tool as part of your corporate communications and compliance policies. It helps your employees comply with the law and respect the rights of copyright holders while keeping themselves and each other informed about the important developments that affect your business every day. In addition, free educational materials provided by RightsDirect can be used to keep your employees informed about copyright matters generally.
Can I share content outside of my organization under the VG WORT Digital Copyright License?
In general, external sharing distribution of content is excluded under the License with the exceptions of these two cases:(i) in response to government filing requirements, and then only when bearing appropriate notices, and (ii) in the case of many works in the repertory, in response to an unsolicited client request, in which case a single print or electronic copy may be delivered.
What are digital responsive rights?
Digital responsive rights allow you to provide a single electronic copy of an article with a customer or prospect in response to an unsolicited request. For example, if a customer has a question related to a certain drug, you can send a copy of a published article from a work participating in the License. Responsive rights relating to the publications of German publishers and select international publishers are included in your annual license at no additional cost.
Does the VG WORT Digital Copyright License cover all my subscriptions?
The VG WORT Digital Copyright License covers millions of articles from thousands of publishers. It covers most of your reuse needs and the RightsDirect team is adding rights to the repertory every day.
How do I verify that a publication is covered by my VG WORT Digital Copyright License?
Using RightFind® Advisor (included with the VG WORT Digital Copyright License) is the quickest, most reliable way for employees to confirm rights to reuse specific content, all without leaving their workflow.
Can I submit copies of articles and chapters from publications in the repertory to government and administrative bodies under the VG WORT Digital Copyright License?
Yes. Employees may submit print or electronic copies of relevant supporting documentation in regulatory filings to government agencies when bearing appropriate notices.
How do I know if my company has the VG WORT Digital Copyright License?
If you’re not sure whether your organization has the VG WORT Digital Copyright License, check with a RightsDirect account manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am not the decision maker and copyright does not have the highest priority. How can I persuade the CEO?
Make a case that copyright compliance by way of the VG WORT Digital Copyright License is an important step toward respecting the rights of third parties. This is surely in line with your publicly stated corporate guidelines. More importantly, your company too protects its intellectual property – whether it’s your patented inventions or your valuable brands and other trademarks and trade secrets – and it is only appropriate that you respect others’ intellectual property as you expect others to respect your company’s.
Why does a Dutch/ American company sell licenses in Germany?
RightsDirect and Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) provide content workflow, document delivery, and rights licensing solutions that allow companies around the world to use and store content while simplifying copyright compliance and protecting the interests of authors, other creators, publishers, and other copyright holders. In Germany, RightsDirect is a partner of Verwertungsgesellschaft WORT (VG WORT),the German collecting society representing the copyright interests of hundreds of thousands of authors and publishers.
Since 2012, on behalf of VG WORT, RightsDirect has been offering the VG WORT Digital Copyright License, which grants companies headquartered in Germany (and their subsidiaries and employees throughout the world) the right to internally reuse lawfully obtained copies of German and international sources. The license includes rights to reuse the works of more than 400,000 German and international rights holders and offers the comprehensive coverage required by all companies in information-intensive industries. Today’s economy is global and so are the companies (and authors and publishers) we serve.
Getting a Quote
What is the online license portal?
We’ve had requests to make it easier for smaller companies to purchase a license from us. This online portal was created for companies with employees only in Germany, so they can easily purchase a license. If you are part of a company with employees worldwide, the price may be lower than what you are quoted; if you have employees outside Germany, please contact an account manager at email@example.com.
What if it is determined that I am not eligible to purchase via the online portal?
If you fill out the form and receive a message saying your company is not eligible to use this portal to buy a VG WORT Digital Copyright License, please rest assured that your company is still eligible to purchase a license. A member of the RightsDirect team will follow-up with you on your request.
Are taxes included in the personalized price quote?
The price quote doesn’t include applicable taxes, VAT charges, or affiliation discounts. The final price including applicable taxes, VAT charges, and/or discounts appears on your invoice. German customers pay the reduced VAT rate of 7%.
We are part of an industry association; are we eligible for a discount on the license price?
Yes, if you are part of BAH (Bundesverband der Arzneimittel-Hersteller e.V.), BPI (Bundesverband der Pharmazeutischen Industrie e.V.), or VCI (Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V.), you are eligible for a discount on the price of a VG WORT Digitial Copyright License. When getting the online quote, please enter the name of your association. The discount is also available if you are a member of one of those associations and purchase the license through a RightsDirect account manager.