The Malta Independent 16 August 2022, Tuesday

€100,000 to be invested yearly in National Book Council to defend publishers and writers

Jake Aquilina Friday, 18 December 2020, 11:02 Last update: about 3 years ago

The Ministry for Education, together with the National Book Council and publishers’ representatives signed the Education Exception Contract in order to regularise reprography and the digital use of Maltese books in Malta’s public schools, following a year of intense liaison.

“We have come here to state our support in favour of Maltese publishers and their intellectual rights,” Permanent Secretary Frank Fabri stated.

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The National Book Council held lengthy discussions with all stakeholders on the legislative framework to make sure that Malta, as an EU member state, complies with EU law.

“It is important to note that Malta is one of the last countries to do this. In the EU, only Bulgaria and Malta were left who did not have the agreement. This is something that has been long overdue — we have been fighting for this for a long time,” Mark Camilleri, the executive chair of the National Book Council, remarked.

Camilleri also offered his thanks to Minister Caruana for her effort to strike this deal since she came into office. “I would like to thank the Minister for supporting this initiative since she was installed into the ministry. This deal is an obligatory understanding according to European laws and now Malta is being compliant to it,” he said.

He further pointed out the critical importance of this regularisation, as the literary industry cannot take any more hits than it has already taken, especially now due to the Covid-19 scenario.

“This law is very important to abide by, because this stealing of intellectual property won’t allow the industry to be financially stable. It is crucial for the existence of the whole industry. It is the first step of the legal steps we are taking,” Camilleri stressed.

Education Minister Justyne Caruana expressed how crucial brokering such a deal was for salvaging the industry.

“It is of more importance than one thinks. There is the exercise of commerciality, rights of the author, and demand for the books. We found a balance which is great for everyone,” she said.

Delving into further details about what this investment will entail, Minister Caruana explained that students and teachers will also be educated on this issue for the benefit of authors and publishers.

“There will also be an educational campaign where we teach students that when you have a book, you read it and put it back, but you don’t photocopy it as it is breaking the rights of the authors and publishers,” Caruana remarked.

 

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