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By Mrs. Tarja Koskinen-Olsson

Chief Executive Officer, KOPIOSTO, Helsinki

1. Rights Management in General

2. Existing Network of Rights Management Organizations

3. Methods of Rights Management

4. Examples of Electronic Copyright Management Systems

Current National Initiatives of Multimedia Rights Clearances






This classification is not official, nor exhaustive, but it is given to show the great variety of creation types that can be used in multimedia. It also shows the dimension of co-ordination needed for functioning rights clearance for multimedia.

Rights management organizations in many countries have established coalitions in order to facilitate the process of obtaining the innumerable licenses required for the production of multimedia. These coalitions have emerged from national needs, and they have different roles and functions, such as:

- providing information on where right owners can be contacted, leaving the issue of right clearance to the individual owner of rights;


- functioning as an intermediary vis-a-vis the user, leaving the right clearance to separate participating rights management organizations; and

- issuing licenses on behalf of all participating right owners.

One of the very first countries to start to examine the effects of multimedia was Japan. Already during the first half of 1990's Committee reports on copyright in multimedia and rights clearing mechanisms were published. The Japanese Government helped to launch a very interesting project called J-CIS (Japan Copyright Information Service). This service would provide information on copyright material of all types and allow users to contact the current right owner easily to obtain necessary permissions. Certain conditions of use may also be decided by the right owner. This service is tentatively to be operational year 2000 as an online service. (See WIPO document ACMC/1/2 by Ms. Mikiko Sawanishi, the First session of the WIPO Advisory Committee on Management of Copyright and related Rights in Global Information Networks, December 1998.)

Multimedia has gained much focus also in other Asian countries. In 1994, the Malaysian Government and private parties launched an initiative to build the Malaysian Multimedia Supercorridor, to promote national multimedia industry and to provide infrastructure to support it. As part of this project, multimedia rights clearance will be necessary.

The Republic of Korea is in the planning stage of building a comprehensive copyright information system for services based on an information superhighway. The new copyright information system will provide for efficient use of national resources. The system could fulfill its role as an efficient linkage with other information networks (Professor Lee, Won-Gyu's article "A design for a new copyright information system in Korea" for WIPO National Seminar on the Use of Information Technology in Exercise and Collective Management of Copyright, March 1999).

In Europe, new coalitions for multimedia rights information and/or clearance have been established in many countries. They group together existing rights management organizations. Such services have been established in Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Some of these coalitions provide information on copyright owners, some issue also licenses. A substantive report on "Multimedia Rights Clearance Systems" has been compiled for IFRRO, last updated October 1998 and a survey of user needs in respect of digital rights clearance will be published by IFRRO's New Technologies Committee in October. The Canadian Government is currently examining the issue of multimedia rights clearance.

5. VERDI (Very Extensive Rights Data Information)

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