IFRRO began in 1980 as a working group of the Copyright Committee of the International Publishers Association and the International Group of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM). It was at the May 1984 meeting in Oslo that this working group became an informal consortium called the International Forum for Reproduction Rights Organisations. This change acknowledged the more direct participation of authors and other rightsowners within the group. In April 1988 in Copenhagen, IFRRO became a formal federation eligible to speak on behalf of its constituents before various international bodies such as WIPO, UNESCO, the European Community, and the Council of Europe.
In September 1992, in Helsinki, IFRRO adopted new Statutes and Guidelines which provided for the establishment of a Board of Directors and a professional Secretariat. The statutes and guidelines were amended in October 1996, in Toronto.
In May 1996, in London, IFRRO adopted a new 3-year plan involving the restructuring and expansion of its activities in many areas. In particular, it was decided to create an IFRRO Development Fund to finance special projects and assist new RROs.
In January of 1998, the IFRRO Secretariat established its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and is now running with four full time employees.
RROs, IFRRO, and the future
National RROs have made enormous strides in providing effective photocopy access to users along with equitable remuneration for rightsholders. IFRRO's informational and educational programs have increased awareness and respect for copyright by governments, users and rightsholders throughout the world. Nevertheless, illegal copying is still widely practiced in many countries. The emergence of newer technologies further intensifies the importance of organised and timely responses to the needs of both users and rightsholders. For this reason, IFRRO's mission and the growth and solidarity of its members continue to be vital.
The challenges and opportunities presented by the rapid advance of digital technology are monitored and assessed through IFRRO's Digital Issues Working Group .
In September 1992, IFRRO signed with STM a Joint Statement on the electronic storage of STM material which has been widely welcomed as a major advance in determining the role of RROs in the electronic field. The statement outlines several areas for joint future consideration and cooperation. Discussion between IFRRO and an international coalition of writers' groups concerning digital uses is also permanent. A Joint Statement was agreed in January 1994. In October 1996, in Toronto, IFRRO adopted a Position Paper on the Collective Management of Digital Rights.
A Joint statement with STM on the digitisation of printed materials was negotiated on January 24th, 1998. IFRRO and Authors Coalition also negotiated a joint statement in February 2000 on the digitisation of printed materials. The AGM 2004 approved new statutes and guidelines as well as Principles for International Document Delivery, a Statement on the Digitisation of Printed Materials, and Principles on Retrodigitisation .
Over the recent years, IFRRO has become a privileged partner for international organisations such as WIPO with whom IFRRO has signed a Co-operation Agreement in October 2003, establishing the framework for closer coordination of actions between the two organisations in the field of Intellectual Property Development and Technical Assistance, especially in developing countries, least developed countries, countries of Central Asia and those of Central and Eastern Europe.
In October of 2004, IFRRO launched a joint publication with WIPO and CISAC entitled ?From Artist to Audience? followed by a joint IFRRO WIPO publication later this year on ?Collective Management in Reprography? .
IFRRO is also an omnipresent partner in international negotiations on the development of legal rules and standards.