Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
These words, pronounced by Malala Yousafzai in her speech at United Nations, have been chosen by UNESCO as motto for the World book and copyright day 2014 on 23 April.
Book Day originated in the 1920s in Catalonia, where it became a tradition to offer a book together with a rose. 23 April is a symbolic date for European and world literature, since it is the day on which Cervantes, Shakespeare and Nabokov died. In 1995 UNESCO choose 23 April to pay a worldwide tribute to books and their authors, and to promote reading, publishing and the protection of intellectual property.
Anyone interested in books as vehicles of information and empowering cannot ignore that the book ‘as we know it’ faces enormous challenges in the digital age: in this context, The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) has recently launched a campaign calling for the right to e-read. The campaign raises awareness among readers, librarians and policy-makers about the difficulties faced by libraries when they try to provide access to e-books and digital content; it argues in favour of change in the copyright framework.
Our friends at the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users, have a dedicated webpage: Copyright issues for libraries. In its submission to the recent European Commission Public Consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules, IFLA maintains that:
- a flexible, open ended copyright exception is needed to allow libraries to keep pace with evolving technologies and services;
- exceptions for libraries in the EU Copyright Directive should be mandatory, and it should not be possible to override them by contract;
- protections and enforcement mechanisms for right holders must be carefully defined, so as not to place onerous responsibilities on public institutions providing access to information.
Most recent initiatives on copyright an neighbouring rights at EU level can be consulted here.
And if you want to read on all other EU-related issues – on paper or online – do not hesitate to come and visit us.