Covid-19 is no defence for undermining copyright, IPA states

Covid-19 is no defence for undermining copyright, IPA states

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has reaffirmed the importance of copyright law, stating the Covid-19 pandemic "does not make copyright protection less viable or infringement less unlawful."

The association released a statement to mark World Intellectual Property Day (26th April), on the "importance of copyright during the pandemic".

The IPA acknowledged that the increasing digitisation of books and audio products has meant publishers are working to create evolving licences and long term and short term digital business models. It stated however that "digital licensing is nowhere near compensating for the overall drop in sales due to the closure of the bookshops."

Jessica Sänger, chair of the IPA’s Copyright Committee, said: "This crisis has demonstrated just how much value publishers bring to so many aspects of our lives. It is the global copyright framework—and exclusive rights in particular—that enable publishers to play this vital role in society.

"This World Intellectual Property Day, we should celebrate copyright law and all the diverse literature, vital research and educational resources that it has helped create. "

The statement comes amid copyright tensions in America. Last month, the Internet Archive moved to lift restrictions on 1.4 million books, linking it to the pandemic by saying the action was taken so that "people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.”  It was attacked by the American Association of Publishers for "undermining copyright and all the scientific, creative and economic opportunity it supports ".

The Internet Archive had previously come under fire from the Society of Authors in the UK, which sent an open letter to the site last year accusing it of breaching copyright.

Secretary general of the IPA José Borghino (pictured) said: "Attempts to erode the well-established operation of copyright law under the pretext of emergency access to research, educational materials and other published materials are opportunistic and intolerable.

"More than ever society needs the endeavors of authors and publishers to be valued and their copyrights respected. At IPA, we stand ready to support the worldwide publishing industry and all who work to maintain effective copyright protection."