The term reprography was coined and introduced as “office printing” at the First International Congress on Reprography (1963) in Cologne, Germany. As of today, it broadly includes multiple content reproduction methods, such as scanning, photography, xerography and digital printing of documents and images in both physical (hard copy) and digital (soft copy) formats.
On one hand, photocopying has helped many libraries provide users better access to literary materials, allowing students to reproduce required material from books and newspapers. On the other hand, photocopying (or any other type of machine reproduction) is subject to copyright provisions.
While a healthy publishing market, one that encourages both creation and dissemination, is imperative to the ecosystem, piracy must be countered with vigorous and efficient enforcement mechanisms. Within educational institutions and businesses, for instance, it is possible to license photocopying material for internal purposes. To facilitate the same, authors, publishers and associations representing such firms have set up RROs like Indian Reprographics Rights Organisation to grant licenses on their behalf.
Since the right of reproduction is an exclusive right, it is natural to voluntarily establish the collective management of reprographic rights of reproduction. RROs obtain licensing authority from national rights holders’ mandates and the international repertoire through bilateral agreements in other countries with RROs. The principle of reciprocal representation is based on these bilateral agreements.
Organisations like IFRRO (International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations) and IRRO (Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation) work towards creating a balanced ecosystem for the authors and publishers by encouraging libraries, schools and universities in getting a reprographics license, which helps them comply with copyright laws.
Before reproducing any content, it is necessary for an organisation or individual to get a reprographics license. If found guilty of infringement, defaulters could be jailed for six months and fined a minimum of Rs. 50,000. It is high time you did the right thing; avoid committing a punishable offense and get licensed.