Stationers’ salute to World Book and Copyright Day
23 APRIL 2015 has been declared this year’s World Book and Copyright Day by UNESCO and as the home of copyright – developed over 150 years prior to the Statute of Anne in 1710 – the Stationers’ Company salutes the UNESCO initiative, an annual event with its dedicated website.
World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to recognise the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them, writes Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.
“As global symbols of social progress, books – learning and reading — have become targets for those who denigrate culture and education, who reject dialogue and tolerance. In recent months, we have seen attacks on children at school and the public burning of books. In this context, our duty is clear – we must redouble efforts to promote the book, the pen, the computer, along with all forms of reading and writing, in order to fight illiteracy and poverty, to build sustainable societies, to strengthen the foundations of peace.
“UNESCO is leading the fight against illiteracy, to be included as a crucial ingredient of the Sustainable Development Goals to follow 2015. Literacy is the door to knowledge, essential to individual self-esteem and empowerment. Books, in all forms, play an essential role here.”
The UNESCO position on copyright is stated on the same website as being “essential for enhancing individual creativity, for the development of cultural industries and the promotion of cultural diversity. Rampant piracy and low level of enforcement of copyright laws destroy the incentives for the creation and distribution of local cultural products in all the countries of the world and reveal the need for concerted efforts to encourage creativity and to foster sustainable development.”
Committed to promoting copyright protection since its early days (the Universal Copyright Convention was adopted under UNESCO’s aegis in 1952), UNESCO has over time grown concerned with ensuring general respect for copyright in all fields of creation and cultural industries. It conducts, in the framework of the Global Alliance for Cultural Diversity, awareness-raising and capacity-building projects, in addition to information, training and research in the field of copyright law. It is particularly involved in developing new initiatives to fight against piracy.
The statement concludes: “The digital revolution has not left copyright protection unaffected. UNESCO endeavours to make a contribution to the international debate on this issue, taking into account the development perspective and paying particular attention to the need of maintaining the fair balance between the interests of authors and the interest of the general public of access to knowledge and information.”