By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Supporting Artists and Their Works’
In an inaugural Emirates Reproduction Rights Forum this week at Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates’ Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi has set into motion the establishment of the Arab world’s first reproductive rights organization, or RRO.
The purpose of rights reproduction organizations is copyright protection and management, collecting copyright revenues from the users of copyrighted property and distributing those monies to the rights holders.
As described in the published materials of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), an RRO’s mission is to benefit both rights holders and users. Under the administrative oversight of an RRO, “users are granted reasonable access to copyrighted material and copyright holders are compensated for use of their works.”
The Brussels-based IFRRO, which has participated in this week’s Sharjah forum, says that in 1999, RROs collected and distributed some €300 million to rights holders worldwide.
Bodour, the Kalimat publisher and founding patron of the Emirates Publishers Association, led the two-day Emirates Reproduction Rights Forum on Monday and Tuesday (February 27 and 28) with the association, in collaboration with the Emirates Intellectual Property Association, the Emirates Writers Union, IFRRO, and specialists from Copyright Clearance Center.
In a keynote address quoted by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Bodour told the forum, “Our main goal is to raise awareness about the role of creative industries and to highlight the importance of establishing reproduction rights management organizations.
“Protecting reproduction rights is a priority for supporting artists and their works in the UAE as it forms part of the nation’s confident approach toward a knowledge-based economy.
“When we talk about the creative industries, we’re not only referring to the protection of intellectual property rights, but also to the range of activities that contribute significantly to our social and economic development.”
‘Copyright Is at the Heart of the Process’
Copyright Clearance Center’s executive director of international relations Michael Healy also spoke at the event, saying, “Copyright plays an important part in modern economy, where there is an increasing dependency on non-tangible, non-physical growth, as typified by creativity in the digital sector.
“Copyright is at the heart of the process that incentivizes artists and adds to the creative value chain.”
Of particular interest in the UAE, as in many nations, is the fact that an RRO helps define and contextualize national identity because it’s enabling correct usage of locally produced content. That’s one of the issues dealt with in a session of the forum called “The Role of Cultural and Educational Organizations in Protecting Rights Owners.”
Another session, “Reproduction Rights Organizations and Licensing,” was focused on how these agencies work.
As quoted by Imran Mojib in a report for The Gulf Today, Bodour says, “We have consistently supported the competitiveness of our economy and the reputation of our country in international forums.
“We believe it is time to establish the Arab world’s first collective management organization for the licensing and protection of reproduction rights in our country.”