Wednesday, September 18, 2013

How Much Do I Charge Publisher For Use of Tables?

Dear Rich: A large university textbook company has used my developmental therapy tables in two runs of of their prior publication (one psychology textbook) and has now requested renewed permission for a 10 year period to use these tables in any and all of their publications print and online. How much should I charge them per year as the permissions fee? We did not charge them anything initially but were given a copy of the book. There are no established rules for licensing fees. When two companies are competing for the same customers  -- for example, GettyImages and CorbisImages, the companies may price their products competitively. But if you are the only party with the available content, you need to decide how you value the deal, what's fair, and what the market will bear.
Why we can't tell you a number. If we suggest a number and you make a deal, you'll eventually think that you could have gotten more and you'll get mad at our hard working staff. (And if we suggest a number that's too high, you may lose the deal and dislike us even more). Most likely you'll be seeking something north of $250 per year, perhaps even four figures depending on the factors listed below:

  • Is the license exclusive or nonexclusive? If the agreement prohibits you from licensing the content to anyone else, your asking price would be higher.
  • How important are the tables? Keep in mind that many companies rely on calculators, tables and charts as a source of high-traffic content so the higher the importance to the licensor, the more you can seek.
  • How hard would it be to recreate your tables in a non-infringing manner? Keep in mind that raw data and facts can't be protected by copyright law, only your unique method of organizing and presenting the data. So, if it is fairly easy to recreate without infringing (or if someone else has created similar non-infringing content), you may have to divine the magic number that won't send the company back to the drawing board.
BTW Dept. Whatever you agree upon, see if you can get the whole license fee at once instead of payments per year. It's generally best to get it all at once than have to track it down each year. Also make sure that your license arrangement deals with attribution and credits appropriately (if that's what you wish).

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