World Book and Copyright Day celebrated with fervour all around

World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. Each year, on 23 April, celebrations take place all over the world to recognize the scope of books – a link between the past and the future, a bridge between generations and across cultures. Here’s a glimpse of how the day was celebrated in different places.

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April 23 is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.

UNESCO connects…

On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry — publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day’s celebrations.

The 24th edition of World Book and Copyright Day celebrated literature and reading while focusing particularly on the importance of enhancing and protecting Indigenous languages. UNESCO has been effectively committed towards indigenous people since the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007 and continues to work towards a better recognition of their rights. More than ever, UNESCO reaffirms its willingness to assist and support local communities in their efforts to promote and preserve their knowledge and language. As a vector of knowledge, books bring people together around a story and a common heritage while revealing their specificities through different cultures, identities and languages. The focus on this topic is fully in line with the celebration of the International Year of the Indigenous Languages.

UNESCO Headquarters is hosting the exhibition “Les Livres à deuxplaces”from April 23 to May 14, 2019. Sixteen sculptures of book-benches are scattered throughout UNESCO, offering a unique reading experience, combining literature, plastic arts, and street art.

Sharjah as UNESCO’s World Book Capital

23 April 2019 also marks the beginning of Sharjah’s mandate as UNESCO’s World Book Capital, chosen because of the highly innovative and inclusive nature of its candidacy. With a programme of activities focusing on involving a large population of migrants, the city of the United Arab Emirates is committed to promoting books and reading and to implement a range of activities for a period of one year.

Copyright Dialogue

On this day, the Copyright Dialogue was being organised by the German Book Office and Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO) in cooperation with the German Embassy in New Delhi.

In the light of the recent Copyright Amendment (11 & 13) passed by the European Parliament, publishers have been enabled to slap new licensing obligations on the internet ecosystem. Article 11 gives publishers the right to ask for paid licenses when their news stories are shared by online platforms, while Article 13 says that online platforms are liable for content uploaded by users that infringes copyright.

The present scenario encouraged GBO to bring the various members of the copyright debate and the government together on a table to have a dialogue on what it means, its importance and its future.

The welcome address was given by Johanna Dorchardt, Cultural Counsellor, German Embassy, which was followed by the introduction to IRRO by NK Mehra, Chairman, IRRO.

The first session on Burning Questions saw introductions by Prashasti Rastogi, Director, GBO, New Delhi, speakers included Dr Ramesh C Gaur, Director, Library & Information in HAG Pay Scale & Head, Kalanidhi Division IGNCA; Arul Geroge Scaria, Co-Director, CIIPC, National Law University, Delhi while DrSushmita Das, Managing Editor, Peer Review, Taylor & Francis Group, India & Sonal Madan, Partner,Attorney at Law, Chadha & Chadha.

The second session on Finding Answers was moderated by Nitasha Devasar, MD, Taylor & Francis Group, India. The panelists included Jagdish Swaroop, Deputy Registrar of Copyrights, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Copyright Office, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India; Pravin Anand, Managing Director, Anand & Anand; Dhruv , partner- Litigation, Anand&Anand ; Dahila Sen Oberoi, Managing Partner, Sen-Oberoi, Attorneys-at-Law; Thomas Abraham, MD, Hachette India; Thomas Meyer, Director Information Services, South Asia, Goethe Institute, New Delhi; and Pranav Mukul, Principal Correspondent, The Indian Express.

This was followed by an Open House. The Vote of Thanks was given by Ramesh K Mittal, President, FIP.

Guide to Publishing Ethics

To encourage ethical publishing and research behaviour, Association of Publishers in India in collaboration with other stakeholder organizations including The Federation of Indian Publishers, Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and German Book Office has launched guide to ‘Publishing Ethics’ on the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day. The booklet, a handy guide for ethical best practices in reporting and publication of research is available as a freely downloadable resource from the API website: http://bit.ly/PublishingEthicsBooklet.

In the past decade, India has made rapid strides in contributing scholarly content to global research output and currently accounts for about 88 per cent of scholarly publications from South Asia. Although there has been a visible spurt in the quantity of scholarly publications from India, the average quality of research output remains low. Instances of research misconduct, including data fabrication, falsification and plagiarism are aplenty. In such a scenario, there is need for the Indian research community to focus on publishing ethics in its stride towards global recognition in research and innovation.

Introducing the booklet, Nitasha Devasar, President, Association of Publishers in India said, “Publishing Ethics concerns us all: as readers, learners, researchers and teachers we engage with the ethics of quoting, copying, authorship and collaborative writing. Do we know what ethical publishing behaviour looks like? This booklet will go a long way in answering this question for all stakeholders in the research and education ecosystem.”

Ratnesh Jha, Chair, FICCI Publishing Committee & MD, Cambridge University Press quoted, “In a world where plagiarism and manipulation of content are deterrents to fostering a culture of innovation, it is publishing ethics that ensure quality, availability, longevity and trustworthiness of content. Today, this is of prime importance and imperative for all to take responsibility and ensure they abide by global ethics guidelines like COPE.”

Researchers and their readers will benefit from the booklet which covers dos and don’ts of the research lifecycle; basics of authorship, data management and permissions; and issues related to copyright and common misconduct.

Café Littéraire – an evening of literary dialogue

The French Institute in India, organised Café Littéraire – an evening of literary dialogue, which saw authors Charles Dantzig, Veena Venugopal and Christine CORNET, Attaché for Books, Ideas and Knowledge, French Institute in India (New Delhi), discuss ‘Why Read?’.

Why Read? is a poetic evocation of the act of reading, a provocation for non-readers, a sparkling soliloquy for avid readers, and a philosophical reflection of what we call literature. Through a series of essays, the author draws on humour and cogitation in equal measures to present a gift to bibliophiles across the world. The book is translated from French to English by Renuka George in collaboration with Yoda Press.

The evening of literary dialogue organised in the garden of Institut Francais India had a discourse on Why Read? by a panel comprising author Veena Venugopal and Arpita Das, Publisher & Founder of Yoda Press, as moderator. Charles Dantzig joined the conversation from his home at Tarbes in France via Skype. On reading habit, Charles said there is no certainty that people who read bad books would eventually update themselves to reading classics.

“I do agree with Charles’ idea in one of his essays in Why Read?, which says one must not be quick to judge a book. When you just don’t like a book, it wouldn’t be the author’s fault. It may be due to you read it in a wrong place or wrong frame of mind. Therefore one must going back to the book a few more times to decide whether it is good for you or not,” explained Veena, who is the author of the critically acclaimed book Mother-in-Law: The Other Woman in Your Marriage.

Sahitya Akademi’s symposium on books that shape our world

Sahitya Akademi organized a symposium on Books that Shape our World in which eminent personalities from various fields participated. At the outset, Dr. K. Sreenivasarao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, stressed on the need to read and immerse into the world of books that not only imparts vast knowledge to the reader, but also takes him/her to other regions of the earth without even physically visiting them, and above all, makes us better human beings.

K.K. Srivastava (Additional Deputy Comptroller & Auditor General, CAG) talked about Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and how the observations mentioned in the book can be observed in one’s everyday life. M.K. Raina (eminent theatre personality), talked about several books he read and re-read during his student life, the book on Abraham Lincoln, the abridged version of Gandhi’s works and how he juxtaposed Premchand’s Kafan with Kafan-Chor, a Kashmiri story, and transformed it into a unique play.

Pranav Khullar (Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India) said that studying literature has made him more humane. While he mentioned that Mahabharata and other scriptures have had a great impact on us, his speech mainly concentrated on the influence of Autobiography of a Yogi and how it impacted great minds like Steve Jobs and Pt. Ravi Shankar. S. Venkat Narayan (eminent journalist), besides speaking about the relevance of our scriptures, brought to everyone’s notice the kind of influence J.K. Rowling has on a certain generation throughout the globe. He observed that one needs a certain kind of mastery to influence a certain age group the way Rowling has been doing for all these years.

The next speaker, Satwant Atwal Trivedi (Joint Secretary, NATGRID, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India), mesmerized the audience with her rhetoric on the quotations and life lessons one gains from even books meant for kids, like Winnie the Pooh or Enid Blyton’s works—the simplicity in such books instills a sense of tranquil and ideal examples in the reader’s mind that stay with her/him for life. She also talked about the Vedas and Adi Granth, how they are, in reality, the most scientific and secular bodies of research.
Sharon Lowen (eminent Odissi, Chhau and Manipuri Dancer) talked about her love with literature and the favorable circumstances under which she familiarized herself with several great literary works. She spoke about Charlotte’s Web and The Tempest. She believed that The Tempest could very easily be the first Shakespeare starter, after which one can go on to read the other works of the master playwright. While, Sujata Chaudhry (Retired General Manager, Indian Post), elaborated the concept of Dharma, as described in the Ramayana. The symposium ended with a vote of thanks from Dr K. Sreenivasarao who thanked the speakers for their interesting insights and the audience.

All in all, it was a day to be celebrated and remembered by one and all!

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