Rights management: why it matters and how PLS can help


For independent publishers, good rights management is key to running a healthy organisation, growing revenue and proving the value of the business. However, when time is precious and investment in systems isn’t possible, good practice can often fall by the wayside. 

When PLS surveyed 100 publishers for the Rights Management in Publishing report last year, we found that 20% of publishers were using ad hoc practices to manage their contracts and 19% were using physical files. In an age of hybrid and remote working, improving the way you store and manage contracts and track your rights can have a measurable impact on your revenues, ways of working, and, ultimately, the value of your business as a whole. One publisher told our survey that “some high value rights contracts have brought in more revenue than sales of the original book,” so being able to access that agreement and leverage the rights you hold can make a big difference to the profitability of a project—but you can’t sell the rights you don’t hold, or don’t know you hold.

PLS provides free rights management resources to help publishers access guidance for best practice, training and case studies from publishers through our Rights and Licensing Hub. Here are just four examples of the useful content that can help independent publishers improve their practices and knowledge of rights management.

1. Ten Steps to Better Rights Management

If you are getting started in rights management or want to improve your practice, here are ten useful tips from PLS’ group of rights experts. 

2. Rights Management Essentials Courses

A free three-part online training course hosted on the Rights and Licensing Hub for anyone working in publishing. It’s especially useful for new starters in rights or editorial teams.

3. Case Study: Rights and business sales

Natalina Bertoli, managing partner of Bertoli Mitchell, discusses how good rights management shows its worth when preparing to sell a business here.

4. PLS Rights Group

PLS also runs the PLS Rights Group, which brings together senior rights professionals from across the industry to discuss best practice and contribute to the Rights and Licensing Hub. If you’re interested in participating, get in touch with the PLS team at [email protected]

Amy Ellis is head of rights and permissions at PLS. To learn more about all the services of PLS, visit www.pls.org.uk