CCC Encourages Voluntary Licensing Around the Globe Through its International Advancement Program

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Copyright advocacy is, and has long been, an integral part of CCC’s mission. Part and parcel of that advocacy is the promotion of voluntary collective licensing. We invest resources and attention in pursuit of this mission in various ways. For example, we work in collaboration with trade associations and industry stakeholders in Washington DC, Brussels, Geneva (and other locations) to ensure our perspective on copyright issues is heard in the halls of power. However, the work we do continuously with CCC-like organizations, known as “Reproduction Rights Organizations” (RROs), across the world is a significant part of our mission-specific effort and resource investment.

There are dozens of countries where collective licensing doesn’t function and others in which it’s at a very early stage of development. Our efforts to support and encourage RROs as they develop are a response to a challenge and an opportunity. We brand these efforts as CCC’s International Advancement Program or IAP.

We tackle these challenges as collaboratively as possible. We seek to cooperate with our partners as we strive to fulfill this part of our mission. If you know CCC, you will most likely know of our extensive involvement in the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), the membership body for RROs. Like CCC, IFRRO takes its mission to support collective licensing around the world very seriously and strives to stimulate it in places where it is feasible to do so by nurturing nascent collective licensing organizations. IFRRO has a Development Fund allocated to this important work, and CCC has contributed to this fund for many years (in addition to the time, effort and money we invest through our own IAP). We also collaborate with other organizations, such as the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as we work to support RROs in less developed parts of the world.

Following are some examples of the collaborative developmental work CCC has been doing recently.

United Arab Emirates

There’s very little functioning collective management of copyright yet underway in any part of the Middle East. That’s certainly the case in the text/publishing space, where there are few fully-functioning Reproduction Rights Organizations. For several years now, CCC has been working to help create an RRO in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), working with stakeholders such as the Emirates Publishers Association and government agencies including the Ministry of Economy. We have also engaged closely with IFRRO as well as WIPO in this effort. We’ve helped to design and lead training events on how to set up and run a collective management organization, how to manage a licensing program, and related topics. We have engaged directly with the local stakeholders and our international partners to make this a reality. We’re delighted that substantial progress has been made, and we’re hopeful that local authorities and stakeholders will announce the establishment of an RRO in the UAE in the near future.

Ghana

In the UAE, we see CCC helping to build an RRO from the ground up. More frequently, however, it’s the case that an RRO does exist and needs help from us to get to the next stage in the development of their organization and programs. Such is the case with CopyGhana, the RRO in Ghana. CopyGhana approached us to leverage CCC’s rights repertoire for their local license – to help them have a viable licensing offering to present to the higher education sector in Ghana. They also needed a sales training program. Through close collaboration with CopyGhana’s leadership, we were able to devise a solution to meet its particular needs.

We also created a new form of cooperative arrangement, the Milestone Bilateral Agreement. This special agreement uses CCC’s rights repertoire (the one we’ve built over decades) and makes it available to the local RRO to put into a license that they can sell locally. It is called the Milestone Bilateral Agreement because the agreement stipulates certain milestones that the local RRO must meet to continue the arrangement. This ensures both that rightsholders’ rights are respected and that the local organization has both the means and the incentive to build and grow its licensing services. We have implemented the Milestone Bilateral Agreement in several places around the world, and there are more in the pipeline.

The Milestone Bilateral Agreement, as well as some bespoke training courses for the staff at CopyGhana, yielded excellent results. Fast forward to today, we find that CopyGhana has successfully licensed almost every university and polytechnic within Ghana. This is a significant achievement. The extraordinary team at CopyGhana has done fantastic work building on the support CCC provided to realize the potential that it saw in their market, and we are very proud that we were able to support its efforts.

Colombia

CDR, the RRO in Colombia, required a technical solution to solve one of its challenges: it faced obstacles to selling digital licenses to universities in Colombia. Based on CDR’s specific need, CCC created a simple Spanish-language “search facility,” enabling CDR’s users to determine whether the works they sought to use in Colombian universities were available for reuse. The tool searches CCC’s repertoire in addition to the repertoires of several Spanish-speaking RROs, including those of CEDRO in Spain and CeMPro in Mexico, as well as CDR’s own repertoire. In this example, CCC was able to leverage platform capabilities that we already had and, with relatively modest bespoke development, deploy our technology into a valuable tool for our colleagues in Colombia.

In each of these examples, CCC drew on expertise from our data and technology teams, as well as the experience of our legal, sales, and marketing teams, to deploy a workable local solution. CCC has carried out this type of work for nearly ten years, and many RROs have come to us for support in that time.

At its core, our International Advancement Program is a very practical way of encouraging and fostering the spread of collective voluntary licensing around the world.  But it’s also more than that: as with our support for the IFRRO Development Fund, and the collaboration we strive to achieve with global partners like WIPO and IFRRO, it’s part of our mission of encouraging a global pro-copyright message.

Michael Healy

Author: Michael Healy

Michael Healy is the Executive Director, International Relations, at CCC. Previously he served as Executive Director of The Book Rights Registry and Executive Director of the Book Industry Study Group. Michael has worked in the book industry over than 25 years and has been closely involved in the development of standards for international book trade, metadata, product information and e-commerce.

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