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26 April

Be creative on World IP Day!

For academic and other educational librarians
[World Social Forum] 

Remember dr Alan Story, who co-organized our WSF workshop "Unlocking the Global Information Fortress" in Nairobi last January?

I just read a message from Alan about The Copy/South Dossier, and then I went on to the website of Copy/South, and found a comment by Ghanaian librarian Emmanuel Mensah Darkey. The comment is about PHOTOCOPY AND EDUCATION IN GHANA. I believe it may be of particular interest to educational librarians, and of general interest to everybody. But I do not copy that one here. You have to go to www.copysouth.org and look for it yourself.

      --- Some years ago, the copyright term was extended from 50 to 70 years. I was reminded of this, again, when I read the notes from our Ghanaian colleague.

Why did WE let that happen?

Originally, there was no copyright at all. Then, at the moment of its invention under Queen Anne of England at the beginning of the 18th Century, the term was 14 years, which was later extended to 28 years.

I do not say that copyrights should be abolished altogether. What we have got now, however is totally absurd, especially so, in our age of the digital revolution and the internet.

The answer to the WHY is that WE have let ourselves be brainwashed and scared. Copyright does not belong to the basic human rights. It is like taxes, something which can and should be continually discussed and agreed upon in democratic ways. Let's have the term of copyrights shortened to 30 years for a change! And, in the case of educational textbooks, let's have textbooks which are Copyleft, that is, freely copyable. Copyrights and Author's rights are different matters. The Author's rights need to be respected, and in this case there should be no end to the terms. The Author of a work remains its author for ever.

Finally, let us not forget about Users' rights, because WE have a special responsibility to defend our own rights.

World Intellectual Property Day? See http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/world_ip/2007

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