Thursday, 13 January, 2011

Community for Governance of Intellectual Property

Copyright owners launch forum for protection of digital rights

There are many areas of our working and professional lives that need solutions that are sometimes bigger than us as individuals or even the organisations that we work for. For instance the issues of colour quality standardisation or environment guidelines for printers. As most of our readers know, these and many other serious issues have not yet been addressed in any serious way by the local and national printers associations. Nor have they been dealt with any of manufacturers associations as a group – be it the ink manufacturers association, the paper makers, or even the equipment and consumable manufacturing associations.

Don’t feel bad about this. The rest of the society with the exception of Nasscom and Mait (both deal with information technology) is also sitting on top of growth with abundant chaos. We are all so busy either surviving or making money, building new plants, buying new presses and attending exhibitions that we really have no time for all that stuff. Let the government do it and let those who are pleased to be part of government committees do what they can. May be they will call us as experts and even give us a free trip to forren.

The issue of copyright and intellectual property is based on the idea that people need to be compensated for their work even if that work consists of an idea, or producing a photograph, or a packaging design, or a machine design, or a type font, or a story or book. Software, music, videos and films are also intellectual property – creative and professionally processed work that according to the current state of civilisation and the Indian constitution need to be paid for.

The issues are complex and the associations who are nominally supposed to be active on this front particularly with regard to authors, publishers, and printers rights and obligations in the area of what could be called ‘content’ are not particularly accessible, active or transparent. This is why yet another organisation is emerging – the Community for Governance of Intellectual Property.

At its first half-day meeting on 6 December 2010 at the IIC in Delhi there were 35 plus authors, publishers, printers and lawyers who discussed a host of things that need to be discussed and to get done – either by discussion and agreement, alerting the government, or by taking action in the broader interest as was done last year in the filing of an Indian authors and publishers point of view in the New York Court that is hearing the case against Google by the Authors Guild of America.

There were many good ideas – too many to discuss properly in just half a day. And those present were an assortment of extremely knowledgeable and forthright intellectual and professionals.

On 6 January 2011, the first follow-up meeting of the CGIP was held. It was jointly organised by the CGIP and our own Ipp Services, Training and Research Pvt Ltd. IppStar as it is known, felt the need to support this meeting with the help of the Delhi Master Printers Welfare Association because the printers need to contribute something positive to the publishing, software and content society of which they are a part. And the copyright issue is one that they face everyday since they have to be sure that their customer is actually bringing them an something for which he has the legal right to print. Printers are equally liable for counterfeiting and piracy under the law, as the publisher is. In addition, we everyday use copyrighted software and fonts – these are the tools of our trade.

The meeting on 6 January 2011 although it brought together printers, packaging desingers, software developers, authors, journalists, publishers and booksellers on a common platform once again, was not as exciting or well-attended as the first meeting. Nevertheless it was an interesting and mostly focussed discussion of the issues of publishing, software and piracy. Moreover, the CGIP will continue to hold such meetings on or around the 12th of every month in Delhi. It will continue to address these important and complex issues issues with seriousness and transparency. Further details are available on http://www.cgip.org.

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