New Recommendations For Dealing With Educational Use Requests

Posted on 2/17/2012 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

    The Editorial Relations Committee of PACA (Picture Archive Council of America) has released updated suggestions for dealing with educational publishers. Digital technology is rapidly changing the way educational materials are being developed and used. During this transition period image licensors need to be particularly vigilant if they hope to receive reasonable compensation for the long range use of their imagery.
The New Year is a popular time for newly revised preferred vendor agreements from editorial publishers.   The Editorial Relations Committee recommends that you review these agreements very closely.  As we have discussed previously, many of these agreements are asking for unlimited print or unit runs for the life of a program.  Some will limit the program life to an edition with a defined percentage of changes, others ask for rights for all editions in all media in perpetuity.  Another definition change or addition that we have been made aware of, in a few agreements, is in customized editions.  The new definition allows for sections of one program to be repurposed in another unrelated program. (i.e. a chapter or selection of chapters from a History textbook may be repurposed in a Social Studies text).

We have seen agreements slowly expand the definition of customized editions over the years. Beginning with the state specific editions to broader volumes of a book divided into more focused topics or smaller editions and editions with rearranged chapters to suit varying teaching needs. These customizations did expand the marketability of a program, but each customized edition still fell within the same program.  The expansion of the definition to allow sections of a program to be repurposed in an unrelated program creates a license that would be impossible to keep track of and verify authorized use.

Granting rights in perpetuity has long been discouraged. The same is true for granting rights for unlimited print or unit runs, especially as the accompanying rights continue to expand. The potential use for images within a program continues to increase substantially.  To grant rights for unlimited units and especially unlimited units, in perpetuity is much too broad of a license, and again makes it impossible to keep track and verify authorized use.

As we are aware, several textbook publishers are currently being challenged and are facing multiple lawsuits for exceeding rights granted on previous licenses.  The broad rights grab agreements that we are now being presented with only end up being a win for the publisher.

While we do understand the need for flexibility to help publishers meet their constantly changing demands, we do not believe this can only be accomplished by agreeing to such broad and unmanageable agreements.  We recommend that you review and carefully consider the consequences before signing these agreements.

Textbooks with iBooks 2

Apple introduced iBooks 2 last months, with the new digital textbook,  Admittedly, first there is the awe of the interactive textbook and the number of options made available through this new medium, but then the licensor of content in us kicks in.   The Editorial Relations Committee has outlined a few points to consider for textbook licensing.

There are currently only a few textbooks available through iBooks from McGraw Hill and Pearson Education, but they are titles that many PACA members have images in.  It is recommended that licenses granted for these titles be reviewed.

The Editorial Relations Committee has discouraged the granting of unlimited print, unit or user counts.  This continues to hold true.  When granting a license it is suggested that there is always a cap of units (including all print and electronic editions) or users. At one time we thought publishers would never exceed 100,000 copies and then it was a million units. The press releases stated that 2 to 4 million students are already using the titles currently available.

Many have already made the transition to include electronic editions in the total unit count, rather than charging a percentage of the print license for electronic use. If you have not made this change in your licensing agreements, it is strongly suggested. We are approaching the time when the number of electronic units of a title may exceed the print units.

Traditionally we have granted a license for one edition with a set percentage of revisions allowed. Once those revisions are exceeded it becomes a new edition requiring additional fees.  The electronic edition allows for simpler, faster and more updates and revisions. Something to consider when defining what constitutes a new edition and requires an additional license fee.

We still need to see how quickly and broadly the iTextbook will be adopted. But whether it is through Apple or elsewhere, electronic textbooks are growing and are no longer the afterthought of the print edition.  We need to make sure they are properly accounted for in textbook licensing.

Copyright © 2012 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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