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article imageJournalists support World Copyright Day, April 23

By Tim Sandle     Apr 23, 2015 in Odd News
April 23 is World Copyright Day, a day designated so by a group of journalists with the aim of protecting their content. The event is supported by the United Nations. The date is also World Book Day, designed to encourage reading.
With the marking of World Copyright Day, the United Nations seeks to "champion copyright and open access." Open access and the maintenance of copyright are complex issues, especially in the electronic age. Once something is posted on the Internet it becomes very difficult to control. Some sites instigate paywalls, but once this is accessed the content can still be distributed.
Copyright is a legal concept, and one respected by many governments. It gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, albeit it for a limited time. Essentially it is "the right to copy", while at the same time giving the copyright holder the right to be credited for the work and other, related rights. It is an intellectual property form. But how well does it stand in cyberspace? Words and images can be distributed relatively easily.
The United Nations and the journalists that the body is working with acknowledged that change is triggering new debates about the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of products, about the nature of copyright today. This stretches from the role of libraries relative to on-line knowledge, about the meaning of ‘authorship’ and 'ownership' in a world of blogs, news pages and wikis.
In the U.K., the National Union of Journalists are running a Twitter campaign, where there is a lively debate. The union are "asking colleagues across the globe to join a #global call for fair contracts for journalists and denounce the lack of protection against the stealing of authors’ rights." The issue of protection is part of the complexity of intellectual property in the era of digital media.
As well as being World Copyright Day, April 23 is also World Book Day. in some sense the date is appropriate for April 23 is the date in 1616 when Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other eminent authors, including Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo. The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) created this day in 1995 to pay tribute to worldwide books and authors and promote literature. For 2015 UNESCO is releasing a new publication called Reading in the Mobile Era. In many countries, books are being given away to schools.
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