In December 2020, representatives of Maltese rightsholders and the Ministry of Education signed a framework agreement for the reprographic and digital use of Maltese books in public schools. The signing of the agreement was presided over by Dr. Justyne Caruana, Minister of Education.
Thanks to this agreement, the use of works in the school system will be licensed, and authors and publishers will receive compensation. According to this “Education Exception Contract”, pupils and teachers in public and Church schools will be able to copy up to 10% of a work. Authors and publishers will receive a compensation for the copying, of 100,000 EUR a year.
In an article in the Times of Malta, the Minister was quoted saying that “to have Maltese books for our children, we must have authors, editors and publishers who need protection, and we must bring all these interests together”.
A CMO – the Malta Reprographic Rights Organisation (MRRO) – has been set up to collect and distribute the licensing fees. The National Book Council will be the entity responsible for managing the process of handing the funds to MRRO to be then distributed to authors and publishers.
IFRRO congratulates the Ministry of Education, publisher Chris Gruppetta, and Executive Chairman of the National Book Council Mark Camilleri, as well as all those involved in the process. Caroline Morgan, Chief Executive of IFRRO, said that “this is a significant achievement for the Maltese authors and publishers. In a country like Malta, where the local language is spoken by half a million people, it is essential to invest in the local publishing industry and support cultural diversity. This breakthrough agreement will help to achieve that”.