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Pay-to-use net revolution

A NEW pay as you use program developed by a WA company is expected to revolutionise publishing on the Internet and protect copyright.

As of this week Perth’s Oil & Gas publishing company will be asking readers to down load an Adobe plug in to get access to its digital publication The Analyst Energy Review.

This plug-in will track readership and bill accordingly.

The program that has enabled this breakthrough in controlling copyright on the Internet and a pay as you read relationship has been developed by Oil & Gas Communications through a joint venture with the WA-based Optmiser organisation.

Optimiser is a specialist in Pay As You Use software and managing director Leo Mullins says the company’s new System Application Integration Library (Sail) program will revolutionise electronic publishing.

“We are working with universities that are anxious to control the intellectual rights of their academic papers,” he said.

“Our program is effective and inexpensive to install into any publication delivered over the Internet and even on a CD-ROM. It will track all users and automatically bill the reader.”

Sail the program runs on the Adobe Acrobat platform for print and uses very little bandwidth so does not interfere with the speed of the down-load of publications.

But it is clever enough to track the use of the publication and automatically bills to a subscriber’s account.

If you pass the document along to a friend with your password Sail will know this and bill you for his access and anyone else you or even he passes it on to.

This will stop pirating and encourage subscribers, says publisher of Oil & Gas resource publications Brendan Egan.

“This is cutting-edge technology in copyright protection and also communication security,” he said

“It could solve all the copyright rows currently being waged over the MP3 music on-line and even protect video and TV delivered on the Internet.”

Literally everything taken off the Web can have this control added to it so the user pays for access, says Mr Mullins.

“Because it uses a password for access it can be inserted into an email to ensure that only the addressee can read it,” he said.

Mr Egan says that it is a dream come true for the digital publishing age.

“We were never able to track how widely our publication was circulated,” he said.

“People would pass it on to others in the company and print it out to give to colleagues. This not only gives us an accurate indication of the readership but guarantees they will all pay for their access to it.”

He said his company had been a willing guinea pig in the development of the technology.

“It is not only about gathering revenue and tracking readership,” he said.

“This also stops the manipulation of publications like ours.

“It is all too easy to modify a publication delivered on-line and then present it as an original.

“The Sail program will prevent that.”

Mr Mullins, an accountant, says the program has the potential to decrease costs by 30 per cent and lift revenues 300 per cent.

“The program is delivered free, but we collect a portion of the revenues that it creates,” he said. “This gives publishers low-cost entry with the potential of good profits and we get to share in the success.”

Nigel Gasper, the international marketing company with overseas rights to Sail, says that the Sail program has huge potential in Hong Kong and Japan.

“In Hong Kong we have had Internet-enabled TV for four years delivered on a 4meg broadband.

“This program will enable the TV companies to collect payment automatically for the program when it is accessed. So the TV and video industries are very keen to assess it.”

Mr Mullin says he expects it to have strong potential in the music industry.

“The recording industry would love to sell their product on the Internet, as long as they can be guaranteed that they will be paid for it,” he said.

“This will guarantee them payment.”

He says that the music, video and publishing industries could choose to even provide their programs on a CD-ROM and the Sail program could even protect it on that.

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