Steps for Fostering a Copyright-Compliant Culture

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Understanding the Rules of Content & Information Sharing in a Global Org

T. Rowe Price is a global asset management company focused on delivering investment excellence and retirement services for institutional and individual investors. Their strategic investing approach, driven by independent thinking and guided by rigorous research, helps clients feel confident in pursuing financial goals.

According to T. Rowe Price’s Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel John Zevitas, utilizing that research, especially when collaborating with and reusing published content, certainly does come with its challenges.  

“Just because you may have received permission to reuse an article doesn’t mean you are in the clear for all subsequent uses, especially at a multinational corporation.”

So how do in-house counsel and others managing the exchange of information throughout the global organization ensure the company is remaining compliant with copyright laws worldwide while continually evolving to meet the changing needs of the business?  At T. Rowe Price, it begins with fostering a copyright-compliant culture.

To start, using a template from Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), they published a comprehensive copyright policy, and internal processes around content use and getting permissions, in a user-friendly, readable format uncomplicated by legal jargon and made them easily accessible to employees.

“Policy documents collecting dust in a database are not going to be beneficial to anyone. We promote the policy any chance that we get. We refer to it in our employee handbooks, ethics and compliance trainings, and on several intranet sites. Our policy is accompanied by job aids and decision trees that help promote compliance. We have learned that employees are willing to comply if they have the tools that can assist them,” said Zevitas.

The next step was to build out a comprehensive copyright education program. T. Rowe Price believes that education and training is the foundation of any successful copyright program. Recognizing that not everyone learns the same way, they built an education program that reflects this fact, using five different methods to appeal to each distinct learning style.

Intellectual Property Curriculum & Courses: Several courses were developed within the enterprise learning management system. These trainings are required for individuals that frequently handle third-party materials, and new hires are automatically enrolled in these trainings. 

  • Job Aid / Knowledge Database: An IP intranet site serves as a one-stop shop for job aids, guidelines, and other educational tools. The site also contains links to CCC’s online educational resources, such as videos, recorded webinar sessions, and infographics. Employees can follow this page and receive updates on new educational content published by their team. 
  • Department-specific Training: In-person and virtual trainings are conducted with business units worldwide. These lectures or interactive trainings are customized by analyzing the data from IP requests to identify relevant IP issues affecting specific business units. 
  • Periodic Third-party Training: Periodic trainings are hosted with third parties, such as outside counsel and Copyright Clearance Center. 
  • Meet & Greets with New Hires: Employees are educated on a one-on-one basis. New hires go through an extensive meet-and-greet experience, and the IP team is encouraged to participate in those events to build and foster relationships within the business.

Lastly, it was vital to build strategic relationships with the business. An IP team needs to be seen as a trusted business partner that is approachable and willing to find solutions — not problems. As a team player, it’s important to recognize achievements and success. At T. Rowe Price, this is done through the company’s employee recognition and awards platform, where employees that consistently do the right thing when it comes to copyright compliance are recognized.

To read more about T. Rowe Price’s complete two-pronged strategy for managing global copyright compliance, access their full case study here.

Rachael Shove

Author: Rachael Shove

Rachael Shove is a marketing communications manager responsible for writing and producing compelling content and campaigns to expand CCC’s visibility, build awareness for expanding product and service offerings, and educate audiences in the corporate market. Prior to joining CCC in 2014, Rachael managed marketing strategies including content, PR, social, events, and promotions for major consumer and not-for-profit organizations including Westfield Shopping Centers and Special Olympics, and has an MA, Communications from the University of Connecticut.

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