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Relationship between Reproduction Rights Organisations

Approved by the IFRRO Board January 2010

N.B.: This instrument does not replace the IFRRO Code of Conduct, which sets out the standards that rightholders and users can expect to receive when dealing with RROs. Rather, this separate instrument addresses specifically the relationship between the RROs themselves. 

Reproduction Rights Organisations (RROs) are collective management organisations which act as intermediaries/facilitators between rightholders (including publishers, authors, and other creators) and users in the fields of reprographic reproduction and certain digital uses.  RROs provide valuable services to rightholders and users of copyrighted works. They promote the creation and dissemination of copyright material, represent the interests of copyright creators and owners, and facilitate legal access to copyright material. RROs act in the interests of all rightholders – authors, composers, visual artists and publishers, national as well as foreign.
This instrument addresses the relationship between RROs. Its objective is to promote best practices in the operations between RROs. To facilitate this, IFRRO, the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations which links together RROs around the world, encourages RROs to develop fair and effective procedures for maintaining relationships amongst themselves and with their constituent rightholders and users, as well as for handling complaints and resolving disputes.
It is recognised that an RRO's character and capabilities, laws that underline and define its operations, mandates from rightholders, and relationships with users all vary widely from RRO to RRO.  As such, not every RRO can or will be able to follow every element of this instrument.  While adherence to this instrument is voluntary, it embodies the principles and values which IFRRO believes all RROs should strive for and uphold.  This instrument is not met to imply a set of rules for RROs, but rather a set of guideposts and encouragement for RROs, and a set of criteria by which RROs can be judged – by their constituents, rightholders and users, by other RROs and by themselves – on their performance of the most fundamental tasks expected of a Reproduction Rights Organisation.


The content of this instrument arises from the values, shared by all RROs, to:
• maintain fair, equitable, impartial, honest, and non-discriminatory relationships with other RROs, rightholders, users and other parties, no matter if national or foreign;
• respect copyright, contracts and applicable national and international laws;
• act with integrity in the collection and distribution of funds received in the interest of both national and foreign rightholders; and
• minimise their costs while providing efficient services to rightholders and users of copyright, no matter if national or foreign.
In order to give effect to these values, each RRO aspires to:
• be responsive to the needs of national and foreign rightholders and licensees;
• achieve efficiency in the process of allocating and distributing payments, including those originating from other RROs and those distributed to other RROs; and
• be accountable, ensure transparency and strive for best practice in the conduct of its operations.


The operation of this instrument and the extent to which it can be adopted by an RRO is dependent upon national laws which may stipulate legal and regulatory requirements, limitations, and/or mechanisms by which RROs may operate. 


1.           General

1.1 RROs act according to their governing rules and constitution as well as applicable national and international law;
1.2 RROs work to maintain, protect and value copyright laws;
1.3 RROs provide information to other RROs that is complete, consistent, clear and easy to understand;
1.4 RROs deal with confidential information appropriately, respecting applicable laws and bilateral agreements with RROs, while respecting privacy rights of and contractual agreements with rightholders and users, no matter if domestic or foreign;
1.5 RROs educate and train their staff to meet the standards of this instrument;
1.6 RROs organise and share appropriate procedures to manage complaints and resolve disputes with other RROs.
2.           Distribution Policy

2.1 RROs distribute remuneration received:
2.1.1 efficiently, diligently and expeditiously, while approximating actual use as far as possible;
2.1.2 transparently explaining the manner and frequency of payments with sufficient detail;
2.1.3 in accordance with applicable national and international laws, as agreed with other RROs on the basis of bilateral agreements, and as agreed with rightholder recipients through contracts or other agreements.

2.2 Each RRO may deduct from collections, if authorised or required by national law or other governing authorities, by its statutes and/or distribution plans rules, and/or by its contracts or other agreements with rightholders or their representative organisations:
2.2.1 allocations for the operations of the RRO,
2.2.2 allocations for social and/or cultural purposes, and/or
2.2.3 tax deductions, e.g. withholding tax.

2.3 Each RRO should clearly provide information to other RROs regarding:
2.3.1 the authorisation for as well as the amount and nature of the deductions from collections, both in general and as specifically applied to payments to the receiving RROs;
2.3.2 the management of funds not yet distributed, including the plans for future distribution of those funds and the holdbacks for national and foreign rightholders;
2.3.3 the specifics, where possible, or types of information in its possession relevant to the distribution of the remuneration; and
2.3.4 any information, forms, and/or requirements for avoiding or alleviating tax deductions that are made in the originating (payer) country.

2.4 Any distribution by one RRO to another RRO should be made not less than once per year.

3.    National Treatment
3.1 RROs need to offer an equivalent or "no less" level of service to foreign rightholders as that offered to domestic ones, subject to any provisions in bilateral agreements.

3.2 Each RRO should exercise and enforce the rights of the rightholders of the other RRO to the same extent and in the same way as it exercises and enforces the rights of its own rightholders.
4.    Indemnification
4.1 Each contracting RRO assumes responsibility for the integrity and the substance of the rights and works, which are the subject matter of any bilateral agreement.

4.2 If possible under a (contracting) RRO's domestic laws and systems, it will agree to hold other (contracted) RROs harmless:
4.2.1 against any individual claims made by rightholders of the contracting RRO participating in a bilateral agreement
4.2.2 for reprographic reproduction and/or digital uses of its works by the contracted RRO's users and licensees
4.2.3 for participation in programs and services authorised by the contracting RRO to the contracted RRO on the basis of a bilateral agreement.

5.    Transparency
5.1 Each RRO will make available, on request, and subject to any confidentiality requirements, documents, information and records, which may be of assistance to the other RRO in exercising its obligations under the bilateral agreement.  Such information might include:
5.1.1 how the other RRO's works (foreign works) are licensed and with what terms and conditions;
5.1.2 significant changes to the way in which foreign works are to be licensed, including the reasons, effective dates, and options available to the other RRO and its rightholders;
5.1.3 how foreign works will be protected from infringement;
5.1.4 data and metadata, including standard identifiers, rights, pricing, limitations, etc., on the repertoire covered by a bilateral agreement (usually as mandated by the rightholders or representative organisations);
5.1.5 usage data collection methodology;
5.1.6 repertoire and usage data exchange methodology and policy; and
5.1.7 distribution data methodology (both to rightholders and to other RROs).

5.2 RROs with bilateral agreements should, when possible and practical, make use of common standards for communicating information and exchanging data between RROs, including but not limited to repertoire, pricing, terms and conditions, distributions, rights and usage information, with an emphasis on using:
5.2.1 ISSNs & ISBNs;
5.2.2 ISTCs;
5.2.3 IPIs or IFRRO Party Identifiers;
5.2.4 ONIX for RROs – ONIX for Repertoire; ONIX for Distributions.

6.   Other Recommendations

6.1 RROs are further encouraged to adhere to other IFRRO recommendations applying to RROs, including:
6.1.1 IFRRO Code of Conduct;
6.1.2 IFRRO Criteria Frequently Applied by RROs when Assessing whether to start Negotiations on Agreements with other RROs;
6.1.3 IFRRO Principles for Bilateral Agreements;
6.1.4 IFRRO Recommendation on the Empowerment of the Creative Sector in Development Countries and Territories – RROs examine whether and how to grant preferential access to their own repertoire when entering into agreements with RROs situated in "Eligible Developing Countries and Territories", as listed in this Recommendation, not withstanding their rights to include other than or exclude countries listed therein;
6.1.5 IFRRO Principles for the Operation of Digital Repertoire Exchange Mandate (REM);
6.1.6 IFRRO Principles for International Document Delivery;
6.1.7 IFRRO Statement on Piracy; and
6.1.8 IFRRO Position Paper on Open Access.