Caroline Morgan, IFRRO: Collective management gives educational institutions and businesses convenient and legal access to copyright content.

Sylvie Forbin, WIPO: A collective management organisation like ERRA is paramount to both facilitating access to content and to rewarding those who have created it.

Sharjah: The launch of the Emirates Reprographic Rights Management Association (ERRA) - a first-of-its-kind association in the region – marks a watershed moment in the UAE publishing industry as it strengthens the foundations of a healthy print and publishing market where both the creation and dissemination of content are encouraged.

With the launch of ERRA, the UAE is now home to the first specialist text and image reproduction rights organisation (RRO) in the Arab region and joins the fold of more than 80 countries around the world with similar collective management organisations in place. ERRA is an important step in ensuring that the copyrights of content creators including authors, visual artists and publishers in the Emirati book industry are safeguarded through appropriate laws and legislations.

The establishment of ERRA also aligns with the UAE’s ongoing efforts to develop its publishing sector and strengthens its role as a champion and ambassador for copyright and collective management in the region.

Benefits for authors, illustrators and publishers

How does the establishment of a reproduction rights organisation benefit stakeholders in the industry? And how does it support the growth of cultural and creative industries?

The existence of an RRO is a primary requisite for authors and illustrators to create content and for publishers to invest in the industry without the fear of losing out to piracy and unauthorised photocopying. Without access to an RRO, authors, illustrators and publishers face the danger of having their work copied without permission and without due compensation. By joining ERRA, creators will receive royalties each time their works are reproduced by its registered licensed users.

Dr. Alyazia Khalifa, President, ERRA, said: “Building a knowledge-based economy and positioning information and knowledge at the centre of economic growth and development requires a strong framework of protection for intellectual property. Reprographic Rights Management Associations are in place to protect the copyrights of content creators and safeguard the rights of authors and publishers through appropriate laws and legislation. ERRA is focused on protecting the rights of all stakeholders in the industry including the culture and education sectors.”

Licensed users

In an address delivered at the ERRA launch ,Caroline Morgan, Secretary-General and CEO, International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisation (IFFRO) said: “Authors and publishers are not the only beneficiaries of collective management. Effective collective management also provides users such as educational institutions and businesses with a convenient and legal means of accessing a wide variety of copyright content on very reasonable terms. Further benefits of collective management include access to the network of national RROs through entering bilateral agreements with other IFFRO members.”

ERRA’s strategy includes monitoring the re-use of print and digital works in schools, universities, copy and print centres, as well as public libraries, in collaboration with relevant government entities including the Ministry of Economy, and Ministry of Education. Licensed establishments will benefit from the association as a rich repository of content is made available for a reasonable fee under transparent rules and regulations. 

Reciprocal agreements

By joining IFFRO’s network of 153 members in more than 80 countries, ERRA members will now be able to receive payments when their works are copied by licenced users in these countries. Being part of this global network also means that works from all these 80 countries will now be available to the education and business licenses of ERRA.

Boosting the creative economy in the UAE

At the heart of an RRO’s mission is to incentivise authors, illustrators and publishers to increase and improve their creative output – leading to a wider base of knowledge and causing the creative sector, and ultimately the economy, to thrive and grow.

Speaking at ERRA’s launch, Sylvie Forbin, Deputy Director-General, Copyright and Creative Industries at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said: “With the universal shift towards digitisation among the creative industries, and particularly with regard to production and consumption of books including textbooks, the role of a collective management organisation is paramount to both facilitating access to content and to rewarding those who have created it.”

She added: “The UAE’s commitment to the international copyright system is the best support for the cultural and creative industries to flourish. The country has truly recognised that the creative economy is a catalyst for the growth and development of knowledge-based economies.”