From 21-24 August I had the chance to attend the Beijing International Book Fair on behalf of IPA.
From 21-24 August I had the chance to attend the Beijing International Book Fair on behalf of IPA.
The term “fake news” was rarely heard a couple of years ago, before Donald Trump’s rise to power, but it has unfortunately become ubiquitous. Whether it is the President accusing the media of “fake news” because it has reported something that he doesn’t like, or the creation of fake news by Trump himself by making statements and observations that are loosely or not at all tethered to the facts, fake news has come to dominate the headlines. One way to propagate fake news is to create a misleading but attention-grabbing headline and selectively assemble (or ignore) “facts” to support it. Regrettably some Canadians appear to be adopting the same tactics. I was reminded of this when I read Michael Geist’s bizarre recent blog which he titled “Movie Industry Denies Lawsuit Strategy Despite Proliferation of Lawsuits and Settlement Demands Against Thousands of Canadians”. While somewhat amusing for its leaps of logic, the title and the blog itself are a perfect example of the fake news phenomenon.
Part 2 : literacy, importance of reading aloud and reading promotion
While my first two days in Bologna were focused on illustrators, either by coincidence, or by the design of the fair’s programme, the second part of my visit was articulated around the literacy and reading promotion.
Turkey’s Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk was invited to Iran by one of his Iranian publishers Qoqnus to attend the Tehran International Book Fair in May. He was supposed to speak in one of the literary centres in Iran, in a night of celebration of his work. He reached Iran but both events were cancelled for reasons like the venues “not being ready” and “avoiding congestion in the book fair”. The only program he could attend was a press conference on the other side of the city far from the book fair venue in Niavaran Cultural Historical Palace stopping his readers from seeing or speaking to him.
On 7 June I had the chance of participating on behalf of IPA at the WIPO National Workshop on the Marrakesh Treaty in Punta Cana, organized jointly by WIPO and the National Copyright Office of the Dominican Republic.
The wheels of copyright change are grinding away in Australia, both through legislative review and court actions. I hesitate to call the process “copyright reform” because one person’s reform is another’s regressive step. The government has chosen the term “copyright modernisation” and a public consultation has been launched with a final submission date of July 4. The review is designed, in part, to gauge public support for copyright proposals included in a report on intellectual property issued by the Productivity Commission back in 2015 and 2016.
Google is at it again. According to press reports in the New Zealand Herald, Google refused to comply with a New Zealand court order to suppress details and remove content related to a local murder trial because, according to a representative of Google NZ, “Google LLC, was a separate legal entity incorporated in the US, meaning New Zealand’s courts and laws held no power over it.” Tell that to the Supreme Court of Canada.
At last week’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), organised by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, many delegates asked for educational materials to be made copyright free.
This was presented as a solution to several learning and development goals. Whilst the goals are noble (and shared by publishers and authors) their suggested solution won’t work. Here’s why.
It’s over. There were a few last-minute huddles of regional groups and Member States to thrash out possible compromises on agreed wording, but the 36th meeting of the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) came to a close this afternoon.
Day 4 of SCCR is the second day focussing on the Draft Action Plans (DAPs) and Exceptions and Limitations (Es and Ls, check out our jargon buster). The day started out with another round of comments from groups, Member States and observers and featured the same the mix of opinions as yesterday.
After almost a complete day yesterday with the plenary chamber empty because of ‘informals’ on the Broadcasting Treaty, there was more action this morning. Chairman Daren Tang recognised yesterday’s positive momentum on the Broadcasting Treaty before moving discussions on to exceptions and limitations and the proposed draft action plans (DAPs).
Day 2 of this 36th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights started with an almost empty plenary room, save a handful of NGOs, as the Members States continued their ‘informals’ from last night, with the NGOs following the discussions from the plenary room, without being able to relay them to anyone.
The 36th session of World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (check our jargon buster here) kicked off today in Geneva. As well as the 191 Members States who can attend, there are about 60 NGOs registered and participating (including the IPA, STM, IFRRO and others from the Creative Sector Organisations group that IPA coordinates).
The WIPO SCCR meets twice a year. But what is WIPO? Who is Darren Tang? IPA will be posting daily blogs from the marathon five-day meeting. Acronyms will be flying. You can read our jargon-buster below. What can you expect from next week’s meeting?
Our first WIPO blog will be out on Monday evening. You can refresh your memory of what happened last time here.
WIPO: The World Intellectual Property Organisation. A self-funded agency of the United Nations with 191 Member States (MS) dealing with all types of largely intellectual property (IP). Most of the self-funding comes from income from the registration of international patents. Its work on copyright is mainly normative (i.e. treaty making) but also includes the guided development of national law. The Berne Convention, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the Marrakesh Treaty are examples of WIPO instruments.
SCCR: The Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, which meets twice a year, usually in May and November, for 5-day meetings.
Es and Ls: Exceptions and Limitations (to copyright), currently a standing agenda item of the SCCR.
CSO: Creative Sector Organisations – a loose grouping of organisations from the publishing, music and film and other sectors, coordinated by the IPA.
ABC: The Accessible Books Consortium. A formal stakeholder platform primarily financed by WIPO to develop the availability of published works in accessible formats around the world. The board consists of representatives of copyright holders and print disabled communities. IPA is an active and founding participant.
Other WIPO committees are the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property Rights (CDIP), Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) on Intellectual Property (IP) and Genetic Resources (GR), Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (TK), which also encompasses Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCE), as well as the Advisory Committee on Enforcement (ACE) and the Committee on WIPO Standards (CWS).
Francis Gurry: WIPO Director General (DG) since October 2008. Worked for over 20 years in the WIPO secretariat before becoming DG.
Sylvie Forbin: WIPO Deputy Director General (DDG) since 2016. Her early career was as a French diplomat. She joined WIPO after 15 years as Senior Vice President for Public and European Affairs for Vivendi.
Darren Tang: Chairman of the SCCR, CEO of the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore.
The WIPO groups
WIPO Member States are also organised into groupings (either regional or economic):
The Broadcasting Treaty: Negotiations started in 1996 (following adoption of the WIPO Internet Treaties) to protect broadcasters signals in the light of new technologies. Over two decades later discussions are ongoing.
Informals: Off-site meetings used to resolve points of contention (e.g. language in a proposed text) away from the stiffness of the plenary chamber. They take place in a separate chamber on the WIPO campus and are strictly for country delegations only. NGOs are not invited, but can follow the audio feed from the plenary chamber provided they do not report publicly what is said.
Side-events: Events and presentations organised by groups or stakeholders during the breaks around the official SCCR agenda.
The uncensored book fair of Iranian independent publishers
Every year, early in May, Iranian publishers have the busiest time of the year with the Tehran International Book Fair being held for a period of ten days in the capital. All publishers - except those who have been banned due to previous violations - gather from across the country.
At this year’s Leipzig Book Fair, IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee chairman, Kristenn Einarsson, joined Hungarian publisher and IPA 2018 Prix Voltaire nominee, Tamas Miklos, as well as German publisher Christoph Links to discuss Europe and Freedom of Expression. Freedom to Publish was a visible issue at the Congress with the Börsenverein promoting its “Für das Wort und die Freiheit” campaign and putting a giant #FreeGuiMinhai hashtag on the central staircase.
While the conversation didn’t stop at the borders of Europe it was interesting to hear that some freedom to publish challenges are closer to home than many Europeans think.
Why should publishers care? A group of outstanding speakers tried to answer this question during the session I had the honour to chair on “Social Responsibility of Publishers”.
I had the honour to chair a session on the second day of the Congress entitled : " Creating readers of the future". My panelists came from diverse backgrounds and represented almost half of the global publishing industry. All of them experts in the children's book market, I was curious to know whether children in Brazil had better access to books than children in China or India or vice versa.
The final day of the Congress started with a detailed look at 'Book Markets in India'. Emma House, Deputy CEO of the PA UK, spoke about the size and importance of each publishing sector and the variety of languages (India has 22 official languages but Hindi and English make up 90% of publications). André Breedt of Nielsen noted, educational publishing dominates the Indian market. Local publisher Himanshu Gupta (S Chand) claimed that Indian publishers are embracing digital as an enabler for hybrid learning. He was supported by Vikas Gupta of Wiley, who called on publishers to become platforms for smart digital content.