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'Convictions needed to combat piracy'

As part of the crusade against book piracy, the Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Associations in India (FPBAI) organised a seminar at the World Book fair, together with several international publishing associations from the US and UK, to spread awareness about the cause and find ways to combat the menace.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2004 13:35 IST

As part of their crusade against book piracy, the Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Associations in India (FPBAI) organised a seminar at the World Book fair, together with several international publishing associations from the US and UK, to spread awareness about the cause and find ways to combat the menace.



The current scenario on piracy is causing losses of Rs 350 - 450 crores to publishers, distributors, booksellers and authors besides the national exchequer.

The federation has been working in association with Britain's Publishers' Association (PA) and US Association of American Publishers (AAP) to establish an anti-piracy programme to fight against piracy of books in India.

"Since 2000 when we came together to fight piracy in India, not a single conviction has been made"

                                     -  Ian Taylor

Pointing out the loopholes in fighting piracy, International Director, PA, Ian Taylor highlighted that since 2000 when they came together to fight the menace in India, several raids have been conducted with many arrested and charged but unfortunately no convictions have been made.

He suggested the setting up of fast track courts for convictions and speedy dispensation of the cases which would help in breaking the piracy network. He also suggested that a central probing agency is needed to break the inter-state piracy network as state level probes often get mired in delays and hassles while shifting investigation of cases from one state administration to the other.

Aakash Chitranshi , advocate, aca-law Counsel South Asia, PA, UK said the single biggest achievement was that everybody had come together to fight book piracy. It was no longer a UK, US or an Indian publisher fighting but publishers worldwide uniting for the cause.

Dr N Subrahmanyam, Chairman, Anti-piracy and Copyright Committee of FPBAI and Managing Director, Tata McGraw Publishing Company Ltd emphasised that due to poor enforcement of the Copyright Act, there has not been a single conviction in the three years since their campaign began. Pointing out areas where the menace is spreading he said digital infringement of copyright in many forms spreading fast and also photocopying of books and selling them at cheaper rates is a huge problem.

SC Sethi, President, FPBAI, also stressed upon the issue of photocopying of entire books going on unchecked in college and university libraries which results in huge losses to publishing houses. He appealed to the media to spread greater awareness on the issue.



"Resisting uniform pricing is important to ensure that best quality books remain accessible to students from all sections of the society in India"

                        - Subroto Mazumdar

Stressing the need to develop India as a hotspot for book lovers and international publishing houses Subroto Mazumdar, Chairman, Copyright Clearance Agency India said books in India are available at the lowest rates compared to global prices and this can be turned into a huge revenue generating opportunity for the country.

He said: "When I travel abroad, I never buy books there. I just note down the name and come back and buy the book in India. So we must not give in to the uniform pricing proposals being put forward by countries like the US as each country has the right to maintain prices according to its own peculiarities.

"Resisting uniform pricing is also important to ensure that best quality books remain accessible to students from all sections of the society in India," he added.

He also pointed to the growing scourge of websites selling or sourcing books from India and selling them on the website at cheaper rates.

The seminar was chaired by Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr Sanjay Paswan. With refreshing candour, the minister said that prior to coming for the seminar when he requested his ministry for information on the subject they gave him information dating back to 1999 and had no updated matter on recent developments on the anti-piracy front. But he said that now that he was familiar with the problem, he would be there at all times to listen to the problems of the book industry and sit down with them to find solutions plaguing, what he termed as, "the knowledge industry".

First Published: Feb 21, 2004 09:30 IST