Copyright: The challenges posed by Reproduction Rights Organizations (RROs) in the provision of information to users

By Japhet Otike, PhD

Intellectual property
Intellectual property
Reproduction Rights Organizations (RRDs) act as an important or crucial link between copyright owners and users. Without them, copyright owners would be compelled to deal directly with users. This would, indeed, have been a very tedious task. However, despite the important role they play in information and knowledge transfer, RROs have been criticized by information users and librarians for taking advantage of their ignorance of copyright law to exploit them. This is particularly evidenced in developing countries where ignorance of the law is most common. Many users are unaware of the provision on Exceptions and Limitations which entitle them to reproduce a limited amount of copyrighted work without seeking clearance from copyright owners or their agents, the RROs. It is concluded that the only way to overcome the challenges posed by RROs is to be legally literate. That both librarians and information users should keep abreast of the law. An important step in this direction is the establishment of library consortia to speed up the process.

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