How much do you know about Belgium? On the cultural side, it’s given us the Smurfs, Tintin, Jacques Brel, Lara Fabian and Stromae. On the culinary side, it’s famous for French fries, waffles, beer and chocolate. It also has an intellectual side, with prominent universities, and is an eco-friendly place to live, with its electric streetcars and 14,500 km of bike paths.
What you may not know is that it’s also the home of various collective organizations dedicated to common goals, such as the EU (European Union), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations).
IFRRO’s annual meeting
As an IFRRO member, Copibec took part in the Federation’s 2022 annual general meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, from October 24 to 27, 2022.
As explained on their website, IFRRO “is an independent non-profit membership association. We facilitate, on an international basis, the collective management of reproduction and other rights in text and image works through the co-operation of our member Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs).
IFRRO has over 150 members, drawn from more than 85 countries around the world. Our members represent many millions of authors, visual artists, and publishers of books, journals, newspapers, magazines and printed music.”
Copibec’s involvement in the annual meeting
IFRRO’s annual meeting is an opportunity for Copibec to review the Federation’s annual report and play an active role in making decisions and approving budgets for the coming year.
Plus, being there in person at an event that lasts several days leads to meaningful discussions that generate new insights.
By taking part in the IFRRO annual meeting, I can meet my counterparts from around the world. It’s also a way for me to stay up to date about what’s happening in the various locations in terms of legislation and processes and find out about the challenges they’re facing and the methods they’re using to manage reproduction rights.
— Christian Laforce
Protecting creative rights
IFRRO inspires us through its mission of promoting and supporting copyright compliance in order to encourage creativity. With their permission, we’ve taken an excerpt from their website that describes quite eloquently how that mission is relevant in a world that’s dematerializing at a faster and faster pace.
Copyright industries represent some 4-6 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developed countries. Frequently, they are the fastest growing sector of the economy and amongst the most important contributors to the creation of new jobs and they should be encouraged and nurtured.
The importance of copyright is even more apparent in the digital environment. As the Internet and other networks have developed as the major channel for purchase of goods and services, there has been a tremendous increase in the use of copyrighted works such as text, music and illustration both in analogue and electronic forms.
Copyright protection enhances electronic commerce and investment. For society, access to artistic, scientific and literary works is important. For rightsholders, books and newspapers, sheet music, journals and other intellectual properties generate important income. For users of copyrighted materials, smooth and easy rights clearance is a key incentive for obtaining permissions and paying royalties.
Unfortunately, unauthorised use of text and image copyrighted works is widespread.
The services provided by RROs benefit both rightsholders and users, and in the long run, society as a whole. Users are granted reasonable access to copyrighted material and copyright holders are compensated for use of their works. Each year, RROs collect and distribute EUR 1 billion to rightsholders world-wide.”
Inspiration for future efforts
There’s no doubt that many challenges, both known and unknown, await us in the digital era. We’ll need to be clear-sighted as we tackle them.
IFRRO’s annual meeting showcases the differences, experiences and expertise developed by our international counterparts.
By getting to know the people in other reproduction rights organizations, copyright collectives and associations of publishers and authors, we’re able to expand our horizons.
It’s also a way to build confidence in our ability to carry out our mission, which is to promote the rights of the local community we represent, consisting of over 30,000 authors and 1,300 publishers.
We’ve returned from this inspiring trip motivated and ready to continue taking action towards preserving the fragile foundations of copyright.