The declaration of the Malaysia Reprographic Rights Centre (MARC), the first-of-its kind initiative in the country, is for the protection rights of authors, publishers and visual artists, said Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Rosol Wahid at the recent National Seminar on Managing Copyright in Malaysia Education.

He said MARC has the responsibility for monitoring and enforcing rights, as well as for collecting and distributing royalties to the rights holders.

The organisation will be tasked with monitoring the re-use of print and digital works across Malaysia such as at schools, universities, libraries and print centres in collaboration with the relevant entities such as the Education Ministry and Higher Education Ministry.

“MARC, as the Collective Management Organisation (CMO) will work with local universities to develop a simple and efficient system that will determine a fair licence fee and assist with information to enable equitable distribution of the fee to authors and publishers,” he added.

MARC will also effectively license photocopying and collect remuneration for authors, publishers and visual artists, and the license agreement could sets out the terms and conditions for permitted copying agreed upon with the consent of rights holders.

MARC consists of The Malaysian Book Publishers Association (MABOPA), The Malaysian National Writers Association (PENA), Malaysian Scholarly Publishing Council (MAPIM), Malaysian Comic Activist Society (PEKOMIK) and Children’s Picture Book Association of Malaysia (MYCPB).

At the same time, Rosol said the copyright owners are urged to register their works at the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia (MyIPO) through the Copyright Voluntary Notification System as they could use it to assist in providing prima facie evidence of ownership and evidence of date of creation.

Meanwhile, he said Malaysia is doing its best to ensure better intellectual property (IP) practices, laws and regulations in the country in order to maintain an attractive business environment.

“Through the declaration of MARC as collective management organisation, it will facilitate lawful access to information in a relatively inexpensive way.

“They are also guardians of a propitious environment for creativity by providing fair remuneration to rights holders and incentives for future creations,” he said.

Rosol said MyIPO will also organise numerous awareness activities and extensive campaigns nationwide to educate the society about copyright and the law, so they can appreciate the need for such rights and can adhere to them.

Malaysia through MyIPO is actively involved in copyright issues at the international level and the Copyright (Amendment) Act 2022 which took effect on March 18 this year reflects the government’s effort to ensure a more effective protection of copyright works in the digital environment, he said.

Malaysia’s accession as a member of the Marrakesh Treaty will contribute to the country’s socio-economic progress by providing exemptions from obtaining permission from copyright owners to make and distribute reading materials in accessible format copy for the visually impaired.

Malaysia’s participation in this treaty will provide wider access to approximately 51,323 visually impaired people registered with the Social Welfare Department, said Rosol. – Bernama