UAE Joins Global Bandwagon for Copyright Protection

The Emirates Reprographic Rights Management Association (ERRA), the first-of-its-kind in the region, marks a watershed moment for the UAE’s publishing industry with the aim of creating a robust foundation for the print and publishing market by encouraging content creation and dissemination.

With this, the UAE now houses the first specialist text and image reproduction rights organisation (RRO) in the Arab region, joining 80 countries worldwide with similar collective management organisations in place. The association was created to ensure that the copyrights of Emirati content creators including authors, publishers, and visual artists are protected through appropriate laws and legislations.

Since managing reprographics rights are difficult, writers, illustrators, and publishers face the danger of having their works copied without permission or due compensation. ERRA comes to play a pivotal role here as an organisation with the responsibility of monitoring and enforcing rights and for collecting and distributing royalties to the rightsholder. It is a major factor motivating writers and illustrators to provide creative content, and encouraging publishers to invest in cultural and creative industries without fear of incurring losses due to illegal practices such as piracy.

President of ERRA Dr. Alyazia Khalifa says, “Building a knowledge-based economy and positioning information and knowledge at the centre of economic growth requires a strong framework of protection for intellectual property. RROs protect the copyrights of content creators and safeguard the rights of authors and publishers through appropriate laws and legislation. The association aims to achieve the right balance between rightsholders and licenced users, starting with the cultural and educational sectors.”

The organisation will monitor the use of print and digital works across the UAE in educational institutions, libraries, and print centres in collaboration with relevant government entities including the Ministry of Economy and the 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.

In her address delivered at the ERRA launch, Caroline Morgan, Chief Executive at the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), said, “Authors and publishers are not the only beneficiaries of collective management. Effective collective management also provides users like educational institutions and businesses with legal means to access a variety of copyright content on very reasonable terms. Further benefits of collective management include access to the network of national RROs through bilateral agreements with other IFRRO members.”

By joining IFRRO, which has 153 members in more than 80 countries around the world, ERRA members will now be able to not only receive payments from licenced users from all of these countries who copy their works, but also avail works from these countries to ERRA’s business and education licences.

On her part Sylvie Forbin, Deputy Director General, Copyright and Creative Industries Sector at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) says, “The role of such collective management organisations is paramount to both facilitating access to content and to rewarding those who have created it, especially so with the universal shift towards digitization among the creative industries, and particularly concerning production and consumption of books.”

“The UAE’s commitment to the international copyright management system is a factor that supports the flourishing of their cultural and creative industries. By joining us, the UAE shows firm belief that the creative economy is the primary catalyst for the development and growth of knowledge economies,” adds Forbin.

The vision of all copyright organisations includes motivating writers, illustrators, and publishers to enhance and advance their creative production, which leads to consolidating the foundations of knowledge and ensuring the growth and prosperity of the economy and creative sectors.

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