IFRRO publishes Study on Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs) in European countries-EFJ summary

IFRRO carried out a study on RROs in European Countries, available on the IFRRO web site that covers 25 RROs in 22 European countries, of which 20 are EU Member States. The study is based on a questionnaire which was circulated to 26 European IFRRO members on 7 April 2005.

The study analyses how RROs are set up and operate in European countries.


Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs) are set up jointly by authors and publishers and represent them both equally. Otherwise, they cannot be approved as a full RRO member of the IFRRO. There are also CMOs (Collective management organization) in membership of IFRRO which have an associate status. The IFFRO has right now no members in Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia and Portugal. Therefore these European Countries are not represented in the current study.


According to the findings of the study, most RROs (68%) administer reprographic rights for all types of works. Only a few, such as Germany, have three different bodies which handle reproduction rights for texts, visual material and musical works separately. Around half of the RROs analyzed have been granted the right to administer public lending rights (52%). Sixty percent of the RROs administer digital rights. Less than half (48%) of the RROs deal additionally with other rights, like rental rights, cable retransmission rights, broadcasting rights and communication to the public rights.

All European RROs are non-profit organizations, usually set up as associations (68%) or limited companies (24%).

The formation of an RRO usually be approved by a public body (86%). In most countries, permission from the relevant authority, usually the Ministry for Culture, is granted. Only in the UK are both of these requirements are uncessary.

RROs are subject to supervision by the authorities in all countries surveyed, except for Malta and Sweden. In addition, more than half of them have established their own internal control bodies set up by the right holders; RROs are thus generally subject to control both by their owners and by the public. Moreover, in half of the countries a second instance exists, in which a decision regarding a RRO may be appealed. Furthermore there is also the possibility of solving disputes by arbitration and mediation mechanisms.


Authors and publishers grant and withdraw mandate (permission) to RROs individually to administer their reprographic rights

Generally, the RRO is granted either a non-exclusive mandate (32%), or an exclusive mandate (68%) that provides the rights holders with an opportunity to withhold works or rights from the mandate. In 35% of the countries surveyed, RROs are also granted rights by law. However, most frequently an exclusive right is granted to the RRO by the individual rights holders themselves (53%).


Foreign rights holders are represented by all RROs through bilateral agreements. RROs treat national and foreign rights holders equally. RROs conclude both Type A and Type B reciprocal agreements. The former is more frequently used(65% concluded more Type A agreements than Type B agreements). Type A implies exchange of both rights and revenues collected, while Type B agreements is an exchange of repertoire, but no transfer of collected revenue. In 44% of the organizations, foreign rights holder can even become members of the RRO.

All RROs are governed by boards, usually elected by a general assembly, less frequently by the rights holders’ associations, which provide for strong rights holder governance and influence on the organization.

An RRO would typically deduct 10-15% of its collected revenues to cover administrative costs, meaning that they are efficient administrators of rights to the benefit of both rights holders and users.

To guarantee a sufficient degree of transparency, all RROs make annual reports, tariffs and distribution rules available to their members. These documents are often also available on the Internet.


Most of the countries (86%), have some form of legal backup. In six countries an extended collective license – or obligatory collective management of the reproduction rights – has been established, and in thirteen countries there are legal licenses to support at least part of the RRO’s activities. In nine countries (41%) the user is offered both transactional and blanket licenses. However, in most countries (54%) licenses are limited to blanket licensing. Tariffs are usually fixed by negotiations. In some countries, approval of the tariffs by the authorities is needed (35%). In 25% of the countries surveyed, the tariffs are already fixed in legislation.


In some countries, rights holders have decided against collecting data on photocopying directly from users, and thus, a distribution method has been developed based on the availability of the material in the market. The rights holders report to the collecting society when their works have been published and are compensated for probable copying of the work. There are also countries where rights holders have opted for non-title specific distribution of remuneration. Surveys are designed to collect generic, non-title-specific information regarding the volume of copying of the type of material and categories of publications, rather than identifying the specific publication, author and publisher that have been photocopied.


The part of the study on levies includes material collected by IFRRO independently of this study. Therefore this part covers all EU member States, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Levies on reprographic equipment and/or an operator levy are covered by legislation in 16 EU countries (70%) and one country outside the EU. The equipment levy generally applies to all photocopiers (76%). In many countries faxes, scanners and multifunction machines are also levied. The standard use covered by the levy is private use (80%). Moreover, in nearly half of the countries research use, educational use and library use are also covered.