The Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG) says it is poised to ensure that tertiary institutions pay royalty to authors, journalists and photographers whose works are being photocopied on campuses.
Mr John Asein, the Executive Director of REPRONIG made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that there were authors and writers whose books and works were no longer in circulation and such works were being photocopied on campuses without payment of royalties to the authors.
“Members of REPRONIG are drawn from publisher, authors of fiction and nonfiction, photographers, Newspaper Proprietor Association of Nigeria, illustrators.
“Under the copyright act, the photographer has a separate copyright in his photographs; when you photocopy a whole newspaper page you are taking the work of the reporter and photo journalist.
“If the write up or features of Nigerian journalist is photocopied in any university in the U.S. they will pay the money to the Reproduction Right Organisation (RRO) and that money comes back to REPRONIG.
“REPRONIG will then transfer the money to the writer or author; so ultimately, journalists, photographers, illustrators, publishers, fiction and nonfiction writers in the print media of both physical and digital platform will benefit,’’ he said.
Asein said that not every journalist or fiction author works would be used, adding that “every author is a potential beneficiary’’.
He said that the primary goal was to draw in authors whose works would be likely used in tertiary institutions in and outside the country.
“For example, we will go to all the tertiary institutions in the country and other countries to examine their reading list which we are sure will be in photocopies.
“So if someone’s works does not features in the reading list of universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education and others, it means that author is on a lower level.
“We have three levels of membership; the first is the association, however, the associations are not the beneficiary.
“We use the associations to get to the individual author. For example when money comes to Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), it will help us get it to the right authors who are member of ANA.
“The second level are individual members who do not belong to any association but have worked out how their books will be used, they can join directly or through association.
“The third level are people who do not have viable works, like those who write 60 page book that are being sold in motor parks; they are also authors under the copyright laws,’’ he said.
He added that it was difficult to know which work would become viable until it got to the market.
Asein said that when copies of work of authors were published outside the country, the money would be repatriated back to the country where the authors reside through the RRO.
“So for REPRONIG, we distribute monies to members and we also for non-members whose works have been identified as used, we look for them, pay them and encourage them to join.
“The task looks daunting, but the real work is not as wide as been perceived.
“What we intend to do is to make information available, call in members and look at the framework or timeline for us to begin to implement,’’ Asein said.