CCC Launches Ozmo Licensing Platform

Posted on 11/20/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

The Danvers, Mass.-based Copyright Clearance Center has launched Ozmo, an online service that aims to help content creators license their work, while offering publishers a way of tapping into user-generated content. CCC is advertising Ozmo as a tool for photographers, bloggers and other artists.

The principle is similar to many existing licensing schemes. Ozmo lets owners set licensing terms and price for the use of their content and handles the licensing process and payments, which are facilitated by Amazon's well-established system. The service has no setup fees and is free of charge for creators, while buyers are subject to fees when purchasing rights to use content.

CCC is among the world's largest providers of rights-licensing services. Established in 1978, the non-profit offers its clients a range of online services and tools that facilitate seamless and legal sharing and republication of proprietary information. In the last year, CCC distributed over $135 million in royalties.

Last week, CCC launched an image-licensing service that offers a portion of Alamy's inventory to large corporate clients for internal uses. The service has generated some controversy among image producers, some of whom see the need for new distribution models, while others say that ReadyImages' similarities with microstock are a cause for concern.

The non-profit's relationship with the photo industry has been tumultuous. In 2001, three photographers unsuccessfully sued CCC, alleging copyright infringement. Until the Authors Coalition of America took over the distribution of foreign photocopying royalties among U.S. creative-industry organizations, many argued that such royalties did not reach or benefit the actual content creators.

Still, the last recipient of a foreign-royalties windfall, the American Society of Media Photographers, endorces Ozmo. ASMP executive director Eugene Mopsik described the service as an easy, fast and legally secure new channel for online sale and licensing of images.

ASMP endorsement may not be enough to encourage professional photographer participation, as CCC chose to build Ozmo using the Creative Commons licensing system, almost universally hated by those who make a living with intellectual property. In professional circles, which have been hard at work to finalize the Picture Licensing Universal System, Creative Commons licenses have become synonymous with freely copying content.

Ozmo uses Creative Commons CC+, a commercial extension of the Creative Commons system launched in December 2007. According to Creative Commons, CC+ was developed to "collaborate with commercial rights agencies and… give the public simple 'click-through' access to commercial rights and other opportunities beyond the scope of a public CC license." The Copyright Clearance Center was among the early supporters of CC+, along with companies including Yahoo!, and RightsAgent. Creative Commons views Ozmo as providing an excellent commercial peer to Creative Commons' public license.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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