Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency : Protect >> Respect >> Access

Frequently Asked Questions

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The Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY) is the national Reproduction Rights Organisation (RRO) established by Jamaican creators of works published in printed form to manage their reprographic reproduction rights (photocopying rights). These creators include authors (writers, poets, journalists, playwrights, photographers, illustrators, visual artists, etc.) and publishers.

It is illegal to make unauthorized copies of copyright protected works such as books, magazines, journals and newspapers. Under Jamaica’s Copyright Act, authors and publishers have the exclusive right to decide when and how their work is reproduced, whether it’s being photocopied, scanned or downloaded.

In the past, before JAMCOPY was established, it was difficult for those who wanted permission to copy materials to locate the copyright owners and it was difficult for copyright owners to protect their rights when copying was done illegally.  In 1998, JAMCOPY was formed by Jamaican authors and publishers to solve those problems. Individuals, institutions and businesses can now conveniently and easily obtain legal permission to copy and copyright owners have a convenient mechanism through which they can receive compensation for the copying of their works.

JAMCOPY represents Jamaican authors and publishers.  All the major Jamaican publishers are affiliates of JAMCOPY.  Through bilateral agreements with similar agencies in 21 other countries including the United Kingdom, United States and Canada, JAMCOPY also represents thousands of foreign authors and publishers.

Repertoire is the term used to refer to works that JAMCOPY represent, through agreements with Jamaican creators of works published in printed form or through bilateral agreements with similar agencies around the world.

JAMCOPY’s domestic repertoire is made up of the works of authors and publishers affiliated with JAMCOPY and who have authorized JAMCOPY to act on their behalf.  All the major Jamaican publishers are affiliates of JAMCOPY.  Individual authors and publishers become affiliates by signing a JAMCOPY Affiliation Agreement.

The works of authors and publishers from many countries across the globe constitute JAMCOPY’s international repertoire. This repertoire is obtained through bilateral agreements signed between JAMCOPY and other national reproduction rights organizations (RROs) throughout the world.  JAMCOPY, like other RROs, is a member of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO).  IFRRO represents 34 RROs and 59 associated organizations from 34 national territories. 

Protection for the works of JAMCOPY affiliated copyright holders extends outside of Jamaica as a result of the bilateral agreements with 21 other RROs.  Through these agreements, the interest of Jamaican copyright holders are protected in those foreign territories and Jamaican licensees are able to access works from an ever-growing international repertoire.

If you make copies from published works such as books, magazines, journals or newspapers without permission from the copyright owner or without a licence from an organization such as JAMCOPY, you may be infringing copyright.  A JAMCOPY licence provides a convenient and affordable way to obtain copyright permissions so that you don’t have to worry about infringing someone’s copyright. If you wish to copy from any copyrighted work published in printed form (e.g. books, magazines, journals and newspapers) you may need a JAMCOPY licence.

Locating copyright owners can be time-consuming and expensive.  A JAMCOPY licence provides an affordable and convenient way to obtain copyright permissions so that you don’t have to worry about infringing someone’s copyright.  You can also ensure that they are fairly compensated for the use of their work.  By copying within the limits of a JAMCOPY licence, you feel confident that you are meeting your obligations under the copyright law.

Individuals or organizations wishing to copy  works published in printed form (whether it’s being photocopied, scanned or downloaded) obtain a JAMCOPY licence and pay a fee for the copying done.  JAMCOPY then distributes those royalties to the copyright owners whose works have been copied.

JAMCOPY’s comprehensive (or blanket) licences provide advance permission from a wide range of sources by a designated institution or group of individuals and are ideal for institutional users of copyright-protected works (e.g. educational institutions, businesses and non-profit organizations). Transactional licences provide convenient copying permissions for one-time or infrequent copying.  Licences are issued in advance for one-time use only for copying of specified portions of specific works and fees are calculated on a per-page basis.

Copying authorized under a licence is not intended to replace the purchase of original published works so there are limits to the amount of a work that may be legally copied.  Generally, no more than 20 per cent of a work may be copied (the maximum proportion varies according to the type of licence), except in certain instances. Further limits may be placed on the making of course packs and anthologies for educational purposes.  Depending on the type of licence, the number of copies that can be made will usually be limited to one copy for each student, library user or employee, together with a reasonable number for teaching, supervisory or control purposes.