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 essential step to ensure 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 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 registered licenced users reproduce their work.
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.”
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, and public libraries, in collaboration with relevant government entities including the Ministry of Economy, and Ministry of Education. In addition, licenced establishments will benefit from the association as a rich repository of content is made available for a reasonable fee under transparent rules and regulations.
ERRA members will now be able to receive payments when licenced users in these countries copy their works. Being part of this global network also means that works from all these 80 countries will now be available to ERRA’s education and business licences.
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 concerning 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.”