IFRRO Statement on The Digitisation of Printed Materials - Supported by the Authors' Coalition (June 2004)


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(as adopted by the IFRRO AGM in Singapore, October 2004)

Official representatives of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO)
and of the Authors Coalition met in Brussels to further discuss the role of national RROs in the
granting of licences for digitising and storage and providing access by legitimate users to printed
copyright works and copyright works in digital form. The Statement covers works in books,
newspapers and other periodicals, etc. whether currently in print or currently made available
electronically. The statement is not intended to be specific about digital format or the process of
digitisation, and includes optical character recognition (OCR) and digital page formats.

Authors’ Coalition represents the

• European Writers' Congress / EWC (55 member organisations in 29 countries, representing
some 54.000 authors and literary translators),
• International Federation of Journalists / IFJ (500.000 journalists, photographers etc. in over
100 countries),
• Authors Guild, Inc. (8.400 professional authors in the USA),
• National Writers Union / NWU (6.000 members in the USA),
• Text and Academic Authors / TAA (700 textbook-writers in the USA).
AC includes authors of fiction, textbook, general non-fiction and scientific works. These authors
publish their works in book, journal and machine-readable form. The members of these organisations
are in most countries involved in the work of RROs on the national level.

1. IFRRO recognises the increasing demand by legitimate users to have access to copyright
works in suitable digital format, and in certain circumstances to digitise and store such works.
2. IFRRO reaffirms (as in its previous joint statements, January 1994 & February 2000) its
commitment to the central role of Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs) in licensing the
photocopying of works. It stresses the role that RROs could play concerning the licensing of
rights related to the digitisation, storage and use of works in digital form, subject to the
consent of all stakeholders.
3. IFRRO recognises that in certain circumstances, legitimate users wish to make digitally stored
materials available to authorised persons.
4. IFRRO recognises the desirability of making the procedures for acquiring rights for the use of
digitised works, digitisation, storage and closed network rights as simple as possible.
5. IFRRO notes that the AC recognises that national RROs could provide a non-exclusive rights
clearance mechanism for works in digital form.
6. IFRRO recognises that the rightsholders can reserve exclusively the role of managing rights
clearance for works in digital form. IFRRO supports the principle of both direct and
centralised licensing of works in digital form, but recognise that centralised management of
rights clearance will in many cases be preferable.
7. To this end IFRRO welcomes that AC will encourage its members to convey to their National
RROs the non-exclusive international rights to licence certain digital uses in accordance with
the principles embedded in this statement as long as the publishers also agree to the collective
exercise or management of their share in the rights.
8. IFRRO notes that AC will also encourage its members to convey to their National RROs a
general foreign mandate in accordance with the Policy Statement adopted at the IFRRO AGM
in Amsterdam on October 20th 1999, authorising them to enter into reciprocal agreements
with foreign RROs operating schemes which conform with the minimum standards of this
statement and the Berne Convention.
9. In accordance with the Policy Statement adopted at the IFRRO AGM in Amsterdam on
October 20th 1999, we appreciate that the AC will encourage and provide the necessary
mandates for their National RROs to engage in pilot projects which take into account the
minimum standards of this statement, and to explore questions related to downstream
10. IFRRO affirms that as provided for in harmonised European as well as national legislations
authorisation by the author or her/his authorised representatives, where identifiable, should
always be a necessary precondition for electronic storage of printed works and for retrieval
and distribution in whatever form.
11. IFRRO observes that unauthorised electronic use represents substantially greater risk
concerning both the moral and economic rights of an author than the present damage from
unauthorised photocopying.
12. IFRRO recognises that an author or her/his authorised representative should, unless otherwise
agreed by collective agreements or national legislation, be entirely free to determine the fee,
including the right to set the fee by type of content, type of user, or any other consideration
deemed appropriate by the author or her/his representative.
13. IFRRO recognises that an author or his/her authorised representative may wish to license
certain sectors directly whilst granting licensing rights to the RRO for all other sectors.
14. IFRRO supports the continuation of levy systems and extended legal licensing systems based
on collective agreements between rightsholders and users wherever established and
15. IFRRO supports collective use of DRM by RROs and the extension of existing collecting
society mechanisms wherever appropriate and economically viable.
16. IFRRO applauds that AC will endeavour to persuade its members of the desirability of
simplified and transparent pricing structures for use of works in digitised form.
17. Unless prohibited by the author or authorised representative, RROs may grant a non-exclusive
licenses for use of works in digital form even when the material is already available in other
digital formats and databases.
18. IFRRO fully acknowledges that the moral rights of authors as well as their contractual and
customary rights and interests must be protected. The contributions of authors to the
authenticity and integrity of information, and the interest of the public in the reliability of
digital information, must be appropriately safeguarded.
19. IFRRO reiterates its commitments to continue to consult regularly with AC and co-operate
closely in implementing and developing these principles.
Yours sincerely


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Writers, translators, audio-visual authors, journalists, composers, visual artists, and their organisations from the countries of the European Union and other European countries, gathered in Brussels on September 20 2006 on the occasion of the 4th European Conference of Creators’ Organisations on AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THE EUROPEAN AGENDA 2007-2013

- generally welcome the current initiatives by the European Commission to facilitate the dissemination of information and culture in the digital environment and to create an open and competitive market for online content

- appreciate the great importance attached by the Commission and the European Parliament to the role of the cultural/creative industries and agree that only an efficient and transpar-ent market will enable authors, artists and their industry partners to reap a fair award for their talents and skills, thereby creating new inducement for the kind of innovative and creative content production which will strengthen the quality and the competitiveness of Europe’s content sector

- are, however, deeply concerned about the Commission’s strong focus on collective management of authors' rights as an obstacle to free competition in a single market for online content, the rising demands from the user community for free content and the publishers’ and producers’ drive for single control administrated through DRM

- underline that authorship is the source of all creative industries and stress that much stronger focus should be on the negative impact caused by legislation and bad contractual practices which eliminate the competition elements in favour of authors when exercising their authors' rights as the effective bargaining tools they should be

- stress that fair treatment and involvement of all creators of content either directly or through their representative organisations should be the guiding principles of all the Commission’s initiatives and that consideration should be given to establishing some sort of support for contractual relationships

- support the Commission’s Digital Library initiative to make Europe’s cultural and scientific heritage accessible to all but underline that for works that are not in public domain this should preferably be achieved on the basis of consent from authors and other rightsholders through voluntary contractual solutions supported by collective licensing schemes and collective management

- recognise the Commission’s Recommendation on the Collective Management of Music for suggesting possible ways of facilitating the cross-border licensing of music to commercial entities

- express, however, deep concern that the Recommendation undervalues the importance that nationally based collecting societies have as trusted partners for authors and for cultural diversity, thereby also undervaluing the findings of the Echerer report of the European Par-liament, which emphasised the fiduciary, and social and cultural, role of collecting societies

- call upon the Commission to take into account that collective societies for rational reasons are natural monopolies, closely controlled by national governments, which minimise trans-action costs for both users and rightsholders, and guarantee equal access to an extensive and diverse repertoire of works

- share the concern of the European Parliament that the Recommendation, in its present form, could harm cultural diversity within the European Union and therefore call upon the Commission to respond positively to the work of the European Parliament in this area, including taking full account of the KEA study commissioned by the Parliament

- emphasise the readiness of creators' organisations to work together in seeking viable solutions in co-operation with their industry partners in an effort to develop standard model agreements and other agreed solutions which will enhance the functioning of both business models and collective licensing schemes

- offer their active support for any European initiative strengthening and raising awareness for authors’ rights

- appreciate the Commission’s “Copyright Levy Reform Programme" insofar as it can be useful to review from time to time whether any changes are needed in European remuneration systems especially in view of technological developments, but stress that any curtailment of the application of levy systems in the EU would directly harm European creators

- point out that the levy schemes work well in the 21 out of 25 Member States who have in-troduced them and that there is no evidence that levies distort the internal market

- call upon the Commission to adopt a more open-minded approach in its evaluation of the replies of interested parties including those of the authors’ societies before deciding whether any and if so what further action is needed.

On the basis of these considerations the participants in the 4th European Conference of Creators’ Organisations on AUTHORS’ RIGHTS AND THE EUROPEAN AGENDA 2007-2013 call upon the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers

- to respect and support the ongoing work on developing a collective vision for viable and fair standard contractual and collective licensing schemes which will enable the authors and other rightsholders to remain in control of their works and which at the same time will meet the legitimate interests of users, giving them an incentive to use legal channels

- to secure that any legislative measures aimed at making works available to the public
either through libraries or other ways will guarantee authors and other rightsholders equitable remuneration for the digitisation and making available of their works.

This conference has been a follow-up to the Conferences on CULTURE AND RIGHTS in Barcelona in 1994,

Brussels, 21st September 2006 

Conference Resolution of the 4th European PLR Conference (April 2007)


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PLR conference held in Budapest, 20-22 April 2007

The European Writers Congress (EWC-FAEE AISBL), working in partnership with:

the Norwegian Non-Fiction Writers and Translators Association (NFF)
the UK PLR Office
the Hungarian Ministry of Education and Culture
the Josef Attila Circle, Literary Association of Young Writers (JAK)
Petöfi Museum of Literature,

held a conference on Public Lending Right at the Károlyi Palace in Budapest,  on 20-22 April 2007.    

The conference organisers invited delegates from authors’ organisations in European countries where PLR is not yet established, or has only recently been set up. 40 delegates participated in the discussions and updates following the country reports. The participants’ country of origin include the following: Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Slovakia, Romania, Estonia, Norway, United Kingdom, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Spain, France, Germany, and Luxembourg.

The proceedings will be published soon. Please contact Jim Parker at the UK PLR office for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The conference is the latest in a series of such meetings organised under EWC auspices and supported financially by NFF and Kopinor to encourage and support the development of new PLR systems across the EU. The next PLR conference will be held in Croatia in 2009.

Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right of authors to receive payment when their works are borrowed from libraries. There are PLR systems in 23 countries and it is the subject of a European Union Directive – the 1992 Directive on Lending and Rental Right (Directive 92/100/EEC) – which all Member States must implement. PLR is an important right for authors and in a growing number of European countries provides them with essential income  towards supporting their writing and livelihoods. But not all Member States have implemented the Directive yet.  The European Commission is currently taking legal proceedings against several of the more established States (e.g. Spain, Italy and Portugal) for their lack of progress.

The PLR conferences are aimed primarily at authors’ organisations and provide advice, information and technical assistance to authors’ organisations and other agencies towards the establishment of PLR in their own countries.  

Download the Conference Resolution here.

More information? Go to www.plrinternational.com

Conference Resolution of The third European Seminar on Public Lending Right (March 2006)


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The third European Seminar on Public Lending Right (PLR):
Madrid, 23-25 March 2006

Conference Resolution:

The conference strongly supports the efforts being made by the European Commission to enforce correct implementation of the Directive in several established Member States. The conference now urges the Commission to set a clear timetable for implementation and to take legal proceedings where governments fail to respond.  

We welcome the inclusion in their PLR legislation by several countries of a requirement for ‘equitable’ remuneration, and urge the governments of all States to take this as a model for their own legislation.

The conference applauds the establishment of PLR systems in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia. The conference also recognises that since the Rome meeting some steps have been taken in several of the other newer states towards PLR legislation. However, intervention by the Commission is now required to remind candidate States such as Romania of their PLR obligations under the 1992 Directive.

In particular, the conference urges the government of the host country Spain to immediately take positive steps to implement the Directive and respect the rights of the creators of one of the major literatures of Europe and the world.

Finally, the conference and the EWC – on behalf of authors and creators across the EU – demand that the Commission provides them with an opportunity for full consultation in the discussions leading to the establishment of the European Digital Library under the i2010 initiative to ensure that their legitimate rights are fully taken into account.