On 25 and 26 July, twelve members of the IFRRO African Development Committee (ADC) met in Johannesburg together with representatives of ARIPO, OAPI, and the IFRRO Secretariat.
The Chair of the ADC, Dora Makwinka (Cosoma, Malawi), opened the meeting and welcomed the new member of the Committee: SODAV, the Senegalese CMO, who became a member of IFRRO in May 2017 and was represented on this occasion by Jacqueline Ndiaye. The DALRO representatives, its CEO Lazarus Serobe and, later on, its Chairman, Sihawukele Ngubane, welcomed the participants to South Africa.
Then the representatives of the two regional African Intellectual Property Organisations took the floor: Byson Sabola (ARIPO) noted that ARIPO and IFRRO pursue the same objectives of strengthening IPR protection and developing collective management, while Solange Dao-Sanon (OAPI) acknowledged the excellent working relationship between IFRRO and OAPI. Caroline Morgan, the Chief Executive and Secretary General of IFRRO, expressed her appreciation to the host organisation DALRO and her happiness to be attending her first ADC meeting, and expressing the wish it was the first of many.
During the first part of the meeting, all RRO representatives presented a national report, offering a unique opportunity to hear about the state of collective management in all corners of Africa: in Burkina Faso (BBDA), Cameroon (SOCILADRA), Cote d’Ivoire (BURIDA), Ghana (CopyGhana), Kenya (KOPIKEN), Malawi (Cosoma), Nigeria (Repronig), Senegal (SODAV), South Africa (DALRO), Tanzania (Kopitan), Zambia (ZARRSO) and Zimbabwe (ZimCopy).
The afternoon session was led by DALRO representatives who shared an update on the copyright bill currently under discussion at the South African Parliament. The prospect of the introduction of a fair use type legislation for the education SECTOR raised a lot of concern and led the African Development Committee to unanimously adopt a Resolution opposing the proposed weakening of the copyright framework in South Africa. A practical session allowed delegates to see the well-developed infrastructure allowing the licensing and distribution systems to be operated efficiently and quickly, using the Web based IFRRO standard Software Environment (WISE).
The second day began with ARIPO, OAPI and the IFRRO CEO presenting their international and regional priorities. After this, the RROs collecting remuneration on the basis of levy schemes exchanged information in a session chaired by IFRRO’s Policy Advisor Pierre-Olivier Lesburguères. The discussion showed that a growing number of countries in Africa are adopting equipment levy and operator fee schemes to remunerate authors and publishers. Finally, the day concluded with two interactive sessions on mandating and licensing educational institutions chaired by IFRRO’s Chief Executive Caroline Morgan, during which best practices were shared and a way forward for African RROs and the Committee was drawn.
Photo credit: Caroline Morgan