Challenges / opportunities In book publishing sector
FICCI in association with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) organised a two-day conference titled “Challenges and Opportunities in the Book Publishing Sector” on August 27–28, 2014, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A few highlights. The two-day conference was inaugurated by Assaduzzaman Noor, hon’ble minister of cultural affairs, Government of Bangladesh. Other dignitaries present during the occasion were Dr Ranjit Kumar Biswas, secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of Bangladesh; Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president, FBCCI; Jennie Ness, attorney and advisor, Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office; Monowara Hakim Ali, first vice president, FBCCI, and Rohit Kumar, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and managing director – South Asia, Reed Elsevier India Pvt Ltd. The conference dwelled on issues like book trade between India and Bangladesh, book market in South Asia and opportunities of business, DRM and combating book piracy in the digital age, etc.
Speaking at the occasion, Noor emphasised on cooperation between India and Bangladesh in the areas of books and content. He highlighted that adequate legal measures are needed to stop piracy in the book-publishing sector. He expressed his sincere optimism that the publishing sector will flourish under the impact of new technology. He emphasised that Indian and Bangladesh publishers need to frequent each other’s territories for market development, and for co-publishing books of common interest. This will not only promote scholarship in the two countries, but will also promote authors of creative literature beyond their geographical boundaries.
Piracy and copyright…
The programme had an exclusive agenda of counterfeit and piracy in the book publishing industry. One of the problems highlighted by Noor was of piracy of titles of popular India authors. He equated piracy with an advanced form of organised crime, the existence of which is not acceptable at any cost. For a publisher, he emphasised, books are the product of other people’s talents, skills and investments. He announced that the Government of Bangladesh has set up a special anti-piracy task force, supported by several leading publishers. This will help curb counterfeiting and piracy in books and content. The Government of Bangladesh has recently revised the copyright law and is currently in the process of drafting a cyber law for the country. Further, the government of Bangladesh is working towards the implementation of a revised national book policy, which will be fully enforced before the February 2015 book fair in Dhaka.
While, Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president, FBCCI, acknowledged FICCI and USPTO for the help and cooperation in bringing forward this important topic. He expressed satisfaction over the fact that with the cooperation of FICCI and FBCCI, a health environment would evolve between India and Bangladesh in the area of book publishing. He thanked FICCI and USPTO for initiating the dialogue between the publishers of both the countries.
Rohit Kumar, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and managing director – South Asia, Reed Elsevier India Pvt Ltd, emphasised the fact that literacy is growing in both the countries and with it the need to publishing content of standard. Providing a brief of the formation of the Copyright Act, he stressed that those present at the conference have some interest in industries that are fuelled by Copyright Act. He further emphasised that all the new media revolution are actually beneficiaries of the Copyright Act. It is important that people, connected with the creative industries, who make a living out of the thriving Copyright Act should be highlighted rather than those who prosper because of the lack of the enforcement of the Act. The biggest challenge that we see in South Asia and other emerging markets is piracy that eats into our ability to do more. He said that the biggest challenge when doing business with Bangladesh is around piracy. He requested the hon’ble minister of culture to help publishers from India and elsewhere with the enforcement of the Copyright Act in Bangladesh. This will make a big difference in how the local economy thrives. “As we move towards digital publishing, we have to ensure that proper rights management systems are adhered to,” he said.
Jennie Ness, attorney and advisor, Department of Commerce, United States Patent and Trademark Office, emphasised that if Bangladesh wants to increase its economic growth, intellectual copyright has a role to play. She gave a presentation on “Copyright Laws in India and Bangladesh and Challenges of Enforcement,” focus on copyright in the digital environment and difficulties of enforcement. She provided a comparative analysis of how copyright laws operate across different territories.
The sessions on “Book Trade between India and Bangladesh” and “Copyright Laws in India & Bangladesh and Challenges of Enforcement” was chaired by Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelley, chairman, Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh (CDRB) and former minister for information, Govt. of Bangladesh. He pointed to the necessity of cooperation between India and Bangladesh in the important area of books and content. Speakers such as Mohiuddin Ahmed, managing director, The University Press Ltd and SK Ghai, managing director, Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, further reiterated the importance of this cooperation. They highlighted the need for creating an enabling environment for the publishing sector to thrive. The need to curb piracy and infringement of intellectual property topped the agenda of most of the speakers at the conference.
The conference concluded with the closing remarks of Dr Ranjit Kumar Biswas, secretary, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Government of Bangladesh. He stressed on further expanding cooperation between the two countries in this important area.
Delegates from India at the conference
Rohit Kumar, co-chair, FICCI Publishing Committee and managing director (Health Sciences) – South Asia, Reed Elsevier India Pvt Ltd; Jennie Ness, attorney advisor, Office of Policy and External Affairs, United States Patent and Trademark Office; Kailash Balani, managing director, Balani Infotech Pvt Ltd and Aditya Books Pvt Ltd; SK Ghai, chairman & managing director, Sterling Publishers Pvt Ltd, India; Subrata Das, editorial director, Setu Prakashani; Archana Das, partner, Setu Prakashani; Rakesh Nath, managing director, Vishv Books Pvt Ltd, and Delhi Press Patra Prakashan Pvt Ltd; Ratnesh Jha, managing director, Cambridge University Press India Pvt Ltd; Rupin Chopra, IP Atorney, SS Rana & Co; Dr RT Goswami, director, Birla Institute of Technology, Kolkata Campus, Sanjeev Dogra, general manager, Aditya Books Pvt Ltd; Kavita Vijh, commercial specialist for IP, US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO); Shilpi Jha, senior IP counsel- India & South Asia, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); Sumeet Gupta, director, FICCI and Osamazaid Rahman, sr asst director, FICCI.