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A young boy reads a book in the Savanis bookshop ahead of the new school year in Nairobi on January 3, 2020.

Kenya

World marks Book Day amid calls for protection of copyright

NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 4 – This year’s World Book Day will be commemorated amid calls to strengthen laws and regulations governing publishing and copyright.

Stakeholders in the industry say the continued violation of existing laws is a major hindrance to the publishing sector across the world.

World Book Day is an annual event organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

Piracy occurs when someone other than the copyright holder copies the product and resells it for a fraction of the cost that the legitimate producer charges.

It is an illegal and illegitimate reproduction of other people’s intellectual property for economic reasons without prior consent or authorization from the copyright owner.

According to Solomon Mahinda, an international Communications Consultant, the most important assets of publishers are the rights they own or control in the works they publish.

In that case, Copyright is the main legal instrument that protects these rights. It is the safeguard that protects publishers’ investment, the incentive that determines the relationship between the author and the publisher and provides livelihood for both.

Partners Against Piracy (PAP), a broad-based coalition of stakeholders in the copyright sector (Creative Industry: Publishers, Actors, Producers, Production Houses etc.) who have come together to actively advocate against Piracy have been in the fore front in fighting for these rights.

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And as the world marks Book Day, PAP reiterated its support to the International Publishers Association (IPA) in their global efforts to protect and promote copyright in the publishing industry.

IPA advances the belief that protection for copyright encourages the dissemination of knowledge and rewards creators and their publishers.

With respect to rights, publishers have a dual role. As copyright users or licensees, they are entitled through agreements with authors and other publishers to use copyright-protected works.

As copyright owners or licensors, they grant a right to other publishers or users to copy, translate, adapt or otherwise use copyright-protected works.

As owners of copyright, publishers have an interest in enforcing their property and commercial rights, and preventing any activity putting these rights at risk as this has a detrimental effect on any industry and will lead to the long-term erosion of the industry.

Piracy/abuse of copyright, therefore, has a detrimental effect on the economy, since generally, those involved in piracy do not pay for goods or services they utilise and hardly, if ever, pay taxes and/or employ staff.

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