If you are copying and sharing content gleaned from South African newspapers, magazines and online publications, chances are you’re infringing copyright. It’s as simple – and complex – as that.
This, of course, has a major impact on the business of media monitoring agencies as they, on a daily basis, cut, copy and then distribute those copies to clients. Schools, too, could come in for flak as teachers who copy an article, and distribute to their classes, are technically infringing copyright.
Brendon Nosworthy, who launched online media monitoring agency, Newstrack Online, four years ago, has thoroughly investigated the issue and in response, developed the [non profit] South African Reproduction Rights Organisation (Sarro).
It’s objective is to perform “collective copyright management on behalf of the South African publishers. This means that SARRO can authorise users to copy and share content from member publications, without infringing copyright. This is done by way of licensing, whereby SARRO licenses users, collects licence fees from users and distributes these licence fees back to the Publisher Members”.
“We need a body to manage copyright,” says Nosworthy. “One of the models is to charge per article, which obviously costs more. In this model, the member publishers effectively own Sarro; that’s the fundamental difference. It works on the basis that a small license fee per person (R120 is the maximum), per year is charged. That way, we can extract sufficient money for the publishers to be paid for content that is copied and shared.”
Sarro is committed to keeping costs at an affordable level. Publishers will be compensated up to 75% of all licence fees while the remaining 25% will be retained by Sarro as a management fee.
Various types of licenses are available, depending on the amount of copying and sharing a company does. There are pubic sector, charity, business, education and third party document supplier options available. These each have different rates, worked out on a sliding scale, that also take the type of industry into account. A legal firm, for example, would be charged more than an agricultural concern.
As Nosworthy says, the process is designed to streamline the interaction between publishers and end users. Sarro is an alternative to approaching individual publishers for permission every time someone wants to copy and share content.
Nosworthy worked closely with Deloitte to develop the model.
“Copyright in most countries around the world is protected and managed by reproduction rights organisations,” says Judy Prins, media and entertainment division lead at Deloitte, “the creation of a South African reproduction rights organisation is not only necessary, but long overdue.”
A “key component” part of the Sarro mandate is education around the issue of copyright, says Nosworthy. “We have to create an environment in which education happens around use of content and copyright compliance.”
At this point, Nosworthy is negotiating with publishers to get them on board.