International Publishers Association:

125 years of promoting and protecting publishing


It was 1896: Ten years had passed since the signing of the Berne Convention, which even today is still the most significant international agreement for the protection of published works and the rights of their authors. The growing internationalisation prompted a congress of publishers in Paris in 1896, marking the birth of the International Publishers Association.
This year, IPA is celebrating its 125th anniversary. Here’s what the former IPA presidents say about it:

We publishers, we are the link between cultural authors, scientifical authors, and readers. We are a bridge, a necessary bridge… and that has happened since the foundation of the library at Alexandria. So, copyright – we have to fight forever. It’s a principle.
-Pere Vicens
(IPA President 2000-2004)

I think that what a publisher must have is respect for the readers, and respect for the authors… I think maybe the word is being honest with everybody: honest with the author  and honest with the reader, and honest with what you think. My father was one of the people censored in Spain because of the books he wrote… So, I am against all kinds of censorship; not only for books but for everything. -Ana Maria Cabanellas (IPAPresident 2004-2008)

I became involved in IPA’s copyright and library committees… and I was hooked.
-Herman Sprujit
(IPA President 2009-2010)
History is a reference, but history cannot be dwelled on.
-YS Chi
(IPA President 2010-2014)

The biggest challenge world publishing faces right now is the threat of becoming irrelevant and being superseded by digital superpowers who wish to control the flow of information.

-Richard Charkin
(IPA President 2015-2016)

If you look at that picture, you see the joy of my father and myself, connecting beautifully, really having this… connection, which you can only achieve with a book.
-Michiel Kolman

The two things that are sacrosanct, our two pillars: copyright and the freedom to publish.
-Hugo Setzer (2019-2020)

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that really loved books and literature… And that influenced my upbringing and my understanding of the world. Human evolution depends on diverse ideas, on social debate, on different perspectives. That can only be achieved through respecting freedom to publish.
-Bodour Al Qasimi
(IPA President currently 21-22)

For the growth of a generation or the growth of a community, that is what freedom to publish is about in the IPA
-Karine Pansa
(IPA Vice-President currently 2021-2022)

With the confirmation of Bodour Al Qasimi and Karine Pansa, we will have now four years of female presidents [at the IPA] – it’s a huge thing. And I’m very happy to have experienced that and to have been a part of that.
-José Borghino
(IPA Secretary General)

One of the challenges we need to overcome is this misperception that protecting copyright somehow damages freedom of expression. Those two rights are intertwined.
-Jessica Sanger
(Chair, IPA Copyright Committee)

The freedom to publish is a vital part of what enables publishers to operate, and we have to be constantly vigilant as threats to it are constantly changing.
-Kristen Einarsson
(Chair, Freedom to Publish Committee)

One of our key values is collaboration. Developments are global and policy is local, but I think behind that is an even more important value and that is that we feel connected to each other.
-Stephan de Valk (Chair, Educational Publishers Forum)

• IPA FOUNDED – as International Publishers Congress, based in Paris
• Berne Convention first version completed on 4 May, in Paris

• PEN International founded in London

• The International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation becomes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

• Adoption of Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations, administered jointly by WIPO, International Labour Organization (ILO), and UNESCO
• Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) founded

• International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) founded in Canada
• African Publishers Network (APNET) and Asia Pacific Publishers Association founded

• IPA Vice Presidents: Asoke K Ghosh Ana Maria Cabanellas
• Cartagena Protocol to the CBD adopted

• Gui Minhai awarded Prix Voltaire
• Faisal Arefin Dipan and Liu Xiaobo awarded posthumous Prix Voltaire Special Awards
• 1st IPA Regional Seminar, Lagos

• IPA Vice President: Karine Pansa
• IPA membership comprises 86 organisations from 71 countries

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