Reprographic Rights Management

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This week we introduce a totally new subject from the usual music related topic that we have previously discussed on this platform.

Today we discuss the management of Reprographic rights. It is most opportune that we discuss this as COSBOTS will soon be managing these rights as part of its statutory mandate as provided for under the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act.

Reprography is a form of reproduction, i.e. duplication of a work. Reprography primarily facilitates licensing of reproduction rights in literary works, visual arts, as well as performance and adaptation rights in theatrical works. The functions are not limited to licensing but also engages in the sale of material that supports its licensing functions, particularly in theatricals.

Reproduction rights of text works and visual material involves a wide variety of right owners and holders. Authors include fiction and non-fiction, dramatists, journalists, translators, visual artists, photographers, composers and lyricists. Publishers may publish books, journals, periodicals, magazines, newspapers and sheet music.

 COSBOTS has over the past year been laying the groundwork for the commencement of operations of the Reprography department. This department represents  the creators and publishers  who own the copyright – and serve them and the community at large by:

1. Giving easy access to copyright material: It is easy for users to obtain the necessary copyright permissions from one source – COSBOTS – for large scale photocopying and many digital uses.

2. Securing a healthy print and publishing market: The creative industries are supported by encouraging and protecting creativity through ensuring proper remuneration for authors. This, in turn, provides incentives for publishers to invest in new products and services.

3. Promoting national culture and cultural diversity: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) help a country to protect its national traditions and advances in the field of culture, science and education. Often the local market provides the only livelihood for national creators and the only return on investment for publishers. Securing a healthy market is a prerequisite for a flourishing national culture and the sustainability of cultural diversity.

Licensing the users - Enormous numbers of photocopies and digital copies are made every year in educational institutions, by governments and other public bodies, within industries and associations as well as by private individuals. This requires licensing.

A COSBOTS license typically grants authorization to copy a portion of a publication in a limited number of copies, for the internal use of institutional bodies. Copying in the education field is normally defined as a supplement to the normal supply of educational material, not as a replacement or substitute for acquisition of textbooks and other teaching materials.

In administration and businesses, the licensed use of copying is normally for internal information and research. Licenses can cover the whole repertoire or only give the user permission to copy defined works. The second form is often used for licensing educational course packs. The terms of the licensing contract will define the extent of the copying allowed and this may differ from country to country.

Typical tariff structures are price per page and price per student/employee. COSBOTS through collaboration with users will keep track of what is being copied so that there is a sound basis for the license and so authors and publishers can be reimbursed.

Licenses generally require reporting on usage data either by full or partial reporting or through statistical surveys that establish the copying habits of users.

Collecting revenues - The amount of revenue to be collected will depend on the terms of the license.

This  is often calculated based on price per page combined with the volume of copies made. The volume can be established in different ways, ranging from an exact tally of the copies, through taking of extra copies to statistical estimates based on known usage.

The per page rate in combination with the volume of copies to be paid for may also be converted into a fee per student or employee to serve as a basis for collection of the revenue.

In addition, the law allows levies on equipment that can be used for copying or on providers of facilities for reproduction of copyrighted material, such as copy shops, educational institutions, libraries and businesses where photocopiers are provided for employees’ use.

Many countries apply both equipment and operator levies to remunerate authors and publishers. Generally, the law provides that the Collective Management Organisations administer the levies.

Distributing - Ideally, the money collected should be distributed to authors and publishers in accordance with the actual use of their works. In practice, this may not be possible – especially if private persons do the copying.

The method of distribution is a matter for authors and publishers to decide and it is generally based on one of two models – title specific and non-title specific.

This concludes this edition o our column and we look forward to publishing the next issue that we address other issues of equal interest in the copyright and other allied industries


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