New CCC Study Finds Executives Create Greatest Risk for Copyright Infringement

Executives Share Third-party Content at Significantly Higher Rates Than Middle Management or Individual Users

Collaboration Tools Catching up to Email as the Preferred Method of Sharing Information

DANVERS, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#collaborationCCC, a leader in advancing copyright, accelerating knowledge, and powering innovation, today announced key findings from the just released “Information Seeking and Consumption Study” based on data gathered by Outsell, Inc., the voice of the data, information, and analytics industry.

According to results from the most recent study, potential instances of unlicensed sharing per employee in the executive suite was significantly higher than middle management or individual users, even as executives had the highest reported level of copyright awareness.

According to the study, email is still the preferred method of distributing information but is trending downwards. Collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Workspace continue to gain traction, doubling the percentage of respondents who say these are their preferred methods of sharing information from 16% in 2020 to 33% today.

“This study provides information managers with a number of key insights into how knowledge workers access and share information,” said Ned May, COO, Outsell. “As new collaboration tools begin to displace email as the primary way of exchanging ideas among employees, there’s a new set of challenges around ensuring proper sharing rights and that may expose companies to greater risk.”

“With collaboration tools and practices continuously evolving, companies must take care to protect their organization from the risk of copyright infringement,” said Tracey Armstrong, President and CEO, CCC. “This study reaffirms the importance of having a well-communicated copyright policy and education program, supported by comprehensive licensing solutions.”

CCC provides a wide range of resources to help organizations support the needs of information users at all levels of the enterprise. The Annual Copyright License (ACL) is a trusted solution that complements publisher agreements and subscriptions by providing a consistent set of reuse rights across a broad repertory of titles, which helps simplify copyright compliance and drives innovation. To support unique licensing needs around the globe, CCC offers the Multinational Copyright License, the VG WORT Digital Copyright License, the JAC Digital Copyright License, and the CLA & CCC Joint Multinational Copyright License. CCC’s RightFind suite offers a fast and reliable way for employees to confirm rights included in their licenses or purchase just-in-time rights for reusing lawfully acquired content, all without leaving their workflow. CCC’s Copyright Education program features certificate courses, information about copyright protection, international principles, and best practices for licensing.

Outsell regularly conducts quantitative studies on behalf of CCC focused on professional information behaviors and usage patterns among knowledge workers within corporations, including the consumption and sharing of copyrighted content.


Outsell designed the questionnaire with input from CCC. The final survey instrument required respondents to spend no more than 15 minutes to complete and contained approximately 20 screens of questions. Topics in the questionnaire covered the following areas: demographics, information-seeking behaviors, content access and consumption, sharing habits and behaviors, and copyright awareness. The study surveyed knowledge workers at companies with global headquarters in these countries: United States, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Denmark, Switzerland, The Netherlands, India, Japan, and Korea. The study focused on the following verticals: Finance/Insurance, Law Firms, Hospitals & Healthcare Providers, Transportation & Automotive, Oil & Gas Extraction, Computers & Electronic Components, Wholesale/Retail, Life Sciences, Chemicals & Plastics, Electric & Gas Utilities, Consulting & Professional Services, Food/Beverage & Agriculture, Aerospace & Defense, and Software & Systems.


A pioneer in voluntary collective licensing, CCC (Copyright Clearance Center) helps organizations integrate, access, and share information through licensing, content, software, and professional services. With expertise in copyright and information management, CCC and its subsidiary RightsDirect collaborate with stakeholders to design and deliver innovative information solutions that power decision-making by helping people integrate and navigate data sources and content assets.


Outsell is the leading research and advisory firm serving executives operating in the data, information, and analytics economy. Its solutions leverage proprietary data, leading industry analysts, thriving peer-to-peer communities, and a network of partner SMEs, all operating in a platform ecosystem. Through deep relationships, Outsell ensures its clients make smart decisions about their strategy, competition, markets, operating best practices, and M&A.


Craig Sender

Senior Director, Public & Analyst Relations

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