The second week in April sees the arrival of the London Book Fair 2014 to the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre. A three-day exhibition bringing together publishers, academics, writers and all manner of parties interested in publishing and in books, it is certainly one of the highlights of the publishing year. Being a student, this blogger is lucky enough to avail of free entry to the London Book fair, and so could not fail to attend “the publishing event of the year”, as the website proclaims.
With almost 1,800 exhibitors and 250 seminars, it would be impossible to even begin to write about everything going on at the Book Fair this week, and so I will limit myself today to discussing the most enjoyable seminar I attended.
With a topic of “How Will Writers Eat? The Debate about Copyright and Writing in the Digital Age”, this copyright student was sure to be interested. The array of speakers from across the industry, with Shoosmiths partner Laurence Kaye chairing and speakers ranging from creatives to academics, and of course publishing professionals, the seminar certainly promised to be interesting. It was delivered as part of the CREATe programme of research.
Happily, the seminar delivered on its promises. It presented a balanced and nuanced view of copyright and the limitations it faces – the question of licensing territorial rights came up several times, and while it is clear that all parties are interested in finding a solution, no golden goose has yet appeared.
Perhaps one of the harshest criticisms was levelled at the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act of 2012, now approaching its second anniversary, which included education within its list of copyright exceptions, leading to the result that many publishers are leaving Canada. Students bear the brunt of this, having to cope with fewer Canadian-specific materials, and will have to continue to do so until the Act is reviewed in 2017.
And of course, as a vehement believer in Charles Clark’s declaration that the answer to the machine is the machine, chair Laurie Kaye also levelled the question as to what the role of technology will be in the future. The general consensus was that the answer to the machine is not the machine itself, but it is certainly in the machine – new and innovative ways of using technology to make licensing easier will help the publishing world adapt to the digital shift.
A final thought offered before our hour was up and we moved on to other things – licensing is so very pivotal to the operation of copyright, the discussion is sure to continue for much time yet.
For more information on the seminar topic and speakers, see here.
The London Book Fair continues for two more days. This blogger will be in attendance tomorrow and will endeavour to post a report of her activities.