IFRRO celebrates World Congress and Annual General Meeting 2014 in Seoul

From 27 to 30 October, IFRRO members gathered in the city of Seoul (Korea) for the IFRRO World Congress and Annual General Meeting 2014. More than 200 participants, including delegates, observers, invited guests, local attendees and authorities, discussed trends, challenges and best practices relevant to the administration of authors rights and copyright under the theme Collective Management – Sharing Knowledge.

Photo: Veraliah Bueno

The IFRRO World Congress and Annual General Meeting is the Federation’s main event and it provides the opportunity for its members to discuss, build their networks and learn from others; to showcase best practices; and to strength the presence of the host organisation and its activities.

IFRRO Business Model Forum and International seminar focus on the educational sector
The IFRRO Business Model Forum (IBMF) and International seminar on “Digital: What we depend on – deserve – and demand in our information environment”, introduced this year by WIPO Director David Uwemedimo and Carlos González-Sancho from OECD’s Directorate for Education and Skills, showed how more people than ever before benefit from education. This trend is likely to continue, and adults with tertiary degree education will earn 75% more than those with lower education degrees. It is also interesting to notice that, in 2012, over 4.5 million students enrolled in university courses outside their country of citizenship. 
      Online education is on the increase. However, although education is progressively becoming more digitised, the textbook maintains its strong position as the central source of instruction. We are also far from a situation where digital is taking over as the central learning resource. For instance, in the EU, less than 25% of the students make frequent use of digital resources during lessons. Moreover, even if new models, such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC), continue to emerge, they have not yet developed into sustainable business models.   
      The Korean educational publisher, Sunshik Min of YBM, noted that “cram” education plays an important part in the Korean educational system. (“cramming” is a system by which students study intensively over a shorter and concentrated period of time, be it for the preparation of upcoming exams, or as a general study model.) In Korea, textbooks for the school market, are either government produced (22%), approved (15%), or authorised (63%). Private publishing plays a role in the two last categories only.
      Korea continues to search for ways to move to digital in the educational sector. The first approach, converting textbooks into pdf for CD-R, did not go down well, with the students, or the teachers. Current experimenting includes ‘Cyber Universities’, where online education plays a central part. This poses challenges not only in relation to the organising of the education and the classroom, but also to copyright and copyright administration.
RROs respond to dynamic user needs
In the panels following the keynote presentations at the IBMF, RROs from various corners of the world documented how they have rapidly met dynamic and changing user needs. For instance, in Korea, the RRO licenses retransmission rights, as described by KORRA Director Dae hee-Lee. RROs have also started content licensing, such as Learningfield in Australia, presented by the Copyright Agency CEO, Murray St. Leger, the Norwegian Bolk, introduced by Kopinor’s Executive Director, Yngve Slettholm, and Pasta do Profesor in Brazil, by Daniela Manole of ABDR  and Editora Manole Ltda.  Virtual Learning Environments and Distance Learning are also included in RRO agreements, as shown by ICLA (Ireland) CEO Samantha Holman, and in the IFRRO document Easy Access to published copyright works (in education and libraries). And CCC’s (U.S.A) Executive Director, International, Michel Healy spoke to how a RRO responded quickly to the need for licensing of MOOC.
      Moreover, RROs have been able to respond to user requests for information on what they can legally do with copyright works, under legislation or licences available to them. CLA’s (UK) International Rights Manager Madeleine Pow presented their copyright icon and application ‘What can I do with this content’; and Magdalena Vinent the CEO of CEDRO, showed how the RRO contributes to providing seamless access to published works in Spain, and beyond, through Conlicencia. Sandra Chastanet, Rightsholders & International Relations Manager at CFC (France),Marc Hofkens, Managing Director of SEMU (Belgium), and Vincent van den Eijnde, CEO of Pictoright (Netherlands) completed the panel, documenting how uses of copyright protected works are authorised through collective management and RROs in France, of music, and of images, respectively.
In summarising, IFRRO’s CEO Olav Stokkmo and the IBMF Chair, Tracey Armstrong of CCC (U.S.A.), noted the unprecedented speed of technological changes, also affecting education, and that RROs have shown a remarkable ability to respond to those changes. The obvious strengths of RROs include their functioning as a ‘one-stop shop’, and as rights information managers, administering rights to works also in education. This offers a unique opportunity for RROs, authors and publishers to collaborate in offering comprehensive solutions for easy, seamless access to published works. IFRRO would continue to support its membership through monitoring trends, compiling and sharing data and best practices, facilitating collaboration, and enabling strategy discussions and bold vision developments, both at IFRRO and RRO level. In concluding, they echoed the vision of the WIPO DG Francis Gurry: We must make it easier to use copyright works legally than illegally!   
IFRRO-WIPO study on Text and Image copyright levies officially launched
As a part of the Congress 2014, IFRRO and WIPO officially launched the joint Report on copyright levies in the Text and Image sector, authored by Paul Greenwood, with assistance, in particular from Robert Staats, Co-CEO of VG Wort (Germany), Kurt van Damme, Deputy Managing Director of Reprobel (Belgium), and the IFRRO Secretariat. The study is available here. IFRRO President and VG Wort Co-CEO Rainer Just and WIPO Director David Uwemedimo spoke to the importance of this first global study on Text and Image levies, not least in disseminating information on this important mechanism to remunerate authors and publishers for certain uses of their works, whilst IFRRO CEO Olav Stokkmo presented the main results of the study. A re-launch of the Report, with the same speakers, was performed at an international seminar organised by KORRA, the Korean RRO, and the Korean authorities at the Korean Parliament on 30 October.      
IFRRO World Congress and AGM 2015 in Mexico City
IFRRO and the Mexican RRO, CeMPro, are pleased to welcome IFRRO members, guest, observers and other participants to an exciting IFRRO Congress in Mexico City on 9-12 November 2015.