Frequently Asked Questions

What is reprography?

Reprography is a form of reproduction, i.e. the duplication of a work.

Reprographic reproduction is a process that usually results in a copy on a graphic surface by for example the following processes:

  1. Printing
  2. Photocopying The reproduction of a work by digital means may be effected by for example:
  3. Scanning
  4. Digital copying for instance on CDs and DVDs
  5. Electronic storage in databases

The exact definition of reprography varies from country to country.of prints from the Internet is included in photocopying licences.

What is printed material?

Fiction and non-fiction books, journals, periodicals, magazines, newspapers; works of visual art as well as photography and sheet music are considered as "printed material". Through the expertise of its technical working groups and committees, IFRRO is a pioneer in various fields of activity such as copying of visual material, the reprographic licensing of musical works , licensing of newspapers and similar publications, and digital issues.

How is copyright dealt with regarding reprographic reproductions?

Most printed material is protected by copyright. Copyright provides an exclusive right to authorise or prohibit reproduction. The rights holder can either exercise this right individually or collectively. Individual management of the exclusive right to reproduction is typical in publishing contracts while collective management occurs where individual management is impractical or impossible. In the print world this concerns reproduction by reprography (such as wide-scale photocopying by companies, educational establishments, libraries and so forth) and more and more often reproduction by digital uses. There are different legislative solutions and operational models for licensing and collecting remuneration for reprography.

Who needs a license?

Enormous volumes of photocopies are taken every year in educational institutions, by governments and other public bodies, by industries and associations as well as private individuals. Mass uses of material protected by copyright should be subject to licensing and/or remuneration. Potential licensing areas

Education at all levels
Public administration - government, regional and local
Trade and industry
Public and research libraries
Cultural institutions and other similar bodies
Church administration
Copy shops and other places where photocopying machines are open to the public

Copyright legislation in the country defines the possibilities for licensing; i.e., in countries where most photocopying takes place in copy-shops, it is important to ensure that legislation enables licensing in this sector. The exact type, scope and wording of a licence depends on the legislative framework of each country.

Groups of Rights holders?

In principle, all authors and publishers whose works can be copied benefit from collective management, and ideally should participate.

Groups of rights holders in reprography

Non-fiction authors, including authors of teaching material
Fiction and drama writers
Visual artists: painters, sculptors, graphic designers and illustrators
Composers and songwriters
Publishers of:
Books, journals, periodicals, magazines, newspapers and sheet music


What is an RRO?

Reproduction Rights Organisations called ?RROs? began in the 1980s in response to the need to licence wide-scale photocopying, providing legal access to scientific and cultural printed works. RROs licence reproduction of copyright protected material whenever it is impractical for rights holders to act individually. They are set up and governed by rights holders, creators and publishers. RROs derive their authority from national legislation and/or from contracts with rights holders.

How does an RRO manage copyright?

The main task of an RRO is to licence reproduction rights ? including ordinary photocopying ? on behalf of rights holders. With technological development, some rights holders have extended the rights and uses RROs can licence on their behalf to cover other mass uses resulting in either a physical or a digital copy.

Any collective management organisation, including RROs, deals with the following tasks:

  • Monitoring where, when and by whom works are being used;
  • Negotiating with users or their representatives;
  • Granting licences against appropriate remuneration and under good conditions;
  • Collecting remuneration; and
  • Distributing it to the rights holders.

Without good legislation there is little room for an RRO to operate; to licence copying and collect remuneration for authors and publishers.

It is therefore of paramount importance that legislation provides for a solid and unambiguous basis, to the benefit of rights holders and users alike. All different options should be founded on the following main principles:

  • They should guarantee at least equitable remuneration to authors and publishers.
  • They should be easy for users to comply with.

There are different models of RRO operation. These models are all described in the IFRRO WIPO joint publication on Collective Management in Reprography.

Dealings abroad

RROs obtain licensing authority from mandates given by domestic and foreign rights holders. Mandates from foreign rights holders can also be derived through bilateral agreements with RROs in other countries, based on the principles of reciprocal representation and national treatment, as provided for in the Berne and Universal Copyright Conventions. According to the principle of national treatment, there is no discrimination between domestic and foreign rights holders. Each RRO collects and distributes photocopy royalties on behalf of foreign rights holders in the same way that it does on behalf of its domestic rights holders. IFRRO proides a set of Principles for bilateral agreements between RROs and two types of Model Agreements, bilateral agreements for reciprocal representation, which can be used as the basis for bilateral discussions. They are framework agreements, and the particular circumstances in each case need to be taken into account.

Benefits for the user

RROs offer easy legitimate access to works. RROs not only increase awareness of copyright by governments, users and rights holders but also stimulate the creation of new intellec­tual work which in return contributes to the economic growth of a nation.

Benefits for the Rightsholder

RROs benefit Authors? and Publishers? creative potential. RROs not only increases awareness of copyright by governments, users and rights holders but also stimulate the creation of new intellec­tual work which in return contributes to the economic growth of a nation.