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Awareness campaign launched to tackle book piracy, plagiarism

Mohan Padmanabhan

KOLKATA, Aug. 9

THE Federation of Publishers & Booksellers' Associations in India (FPBA) has launched a major campaign to create awareness in schools, colleges, universities and libraries on the menace of book piracy, plagiarism and violation of copyright laws. The FPBA is also in the process of reviving the Good Offices Committee (GOC), a body comprising representatives of the book trade, libraries and government agencies which was mainly concerned with the task of fixing rates for both imported and domestically produced books meant for libraries and other establishments.

Talking to Business Line here on the broad agenda, Mr Sukumar Das, President of FPBA, said a dialogue has already been initiated with NCERT to examine how such awareness programmes could be given shape in the curricula of schools and colleges. He said the federation has already written to all VCs and directors of leading libraries in the country to help create such awareness among its various constituents.

In a bid to tackle this growing menace of book piracy, and unauthorised reproduction of material from different books through the digitised mode, the FPBA was already in talks with various State Governments for activating the Economic Offences Wing in a big way, he pointed out. "We are even willing to train the law enforcement personnel on effective ways to tackle book piracy."

FPBA has also retained the services of a full-fledged copyright lawyer to interact with the various site government agencies and advise the federation on the preventive steps that have to be taken by the book publishing and retail trade, he clarified. Select leading publishers in major metros have also been given the job of monitoring the process.

Describing booksellers and libraries as "partners in progress," Mr Das said the revived GOC was expected to have an expanded role, going well beyond the routine work of fixing of rates. Describing libraries as the mainstay of the book trade, he said even the existing Deliveries Act has to be suitably amended to impart a region-wise approach, especially for leading libraries. "We need to have a re-look into the purchase policy of the libraries, which have to sit across the table with the book trade," he pointed out. The GOC, after being in place for nearly 30 years, was disbanded in 1995, according to Mr Das.

On imports, he said India was also becoming a dumping ground for books from abroad, arriving in shiploads, which are labelled by the trade as "remainder" books. Calling for urgent steps to check this phenomenon, which was threatening to disrupt fair trade practices in the book publishing business, he said these remainder books accounted for some 40 per cent of the total book imports by India of Rs 1,200 crore.

Commenting on the new initiatives being launched by FPBA to train the book trade in various aspects of retail, he said a large database of relevant information on books trade and book fairs was being created, in a bid to supplement the information already put out by FPBA's Web site (fpba.org.net). The site is also being upgraded in a big way.

Mr Das, who is also chairman of the Books, Publications & Printing Panel of Capexil, while commenting on book export prospects from India, said the quality of our printing and binding as well as the paper used in our books should point to our capacity to undertake printing and binding for the world market. Though some progress has been made, we have to improve further to match with the best in the world.

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