Court turns down re­quest for pub­lisher’s at­tempt to stop this year’s Na­tional Book Fes­ti­val

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

The court has turned down a re­quest filed by book pub­lish­ers Dom Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Ltd to stop the Na­tional Book Coun­cil from or­gan­is­ing this year’s Na­tional Book Fair at the Mediter­ranean Con­fer­ence Cen­tre in Val­letta.

Book fair or­gan­is­ers, namely Chair­man of the Na­tional Book Coun­cil Mark Camil­leri, were no­ti­fied of the in­junc­tion by Dom Com­mu­ni­ca­tions on Wed­nes­day 9 Novem­ber, which is the same date when the much an­tic­i­pated event was launched.

It ap­pears that the pub­lish­ers were not al­lowed to ex­hibit their publi­ca­tions dur­ing this year’s fair and back in Septem­ber, they had even filed a ju­di­cial protest in this re­gard.

The court noted that with the in­junc­tion be­ing filed on the same they when the event was launched, Dom Com­mu­ni­ca­tions tried to “in­flict as much dam­age as pos­si­ble to the detri­ment of other pub­lish­ers.”

The court had orig­i­nally pro­vi­sion­ally up­held the pub­lisher’s re­quest, but has now turned down the com­plainant’s re­quest as it de­cided that this re­quest has a mul­ti­plier and ex­po­nen­tial ef­fect on the other par­tic­i­pants in the fair “who de­pend on this fair for a sub­stan­tial per­cent­age of their an­nual in­come.”

On its part, the Na­tional Book Coun­cil ar­gued that an ar­bi­trary de­ci­sion by the coun­cil should not in any way be made to af­fect neg­a­tively the large num­ber of other pub­lish­ers.

“If any­thing, the pub­lish­ers could have sued the Coun­cil for dam­ages but not try and stop the whole fes­ti­val,” Mr Camil­leri ar­gued.

It ap­pears that the rea­son why Dom Com­mu­ni­ca­tions was not al­lowed to par­tic­i­pate in this year’s fair is be­cause the com­pany in ques­tion was al­legedly sell­ing and dis­tribut­ing books with­out the nec­es­sary copy­right.

The book coun­cil said it felt the duty to deny the pub­lisher’s re­quest to ex­hibit so that the rep­u­ta­tion and stan­dards of such an im­por­tant event is not tar­nished.

In a sen­tence handed by Judge Jac­que­line Padovani Grima, the court ruled that the pro­vi­sional ap­proval of the in­junc­tion is to be turned down.

The pro­hibitory in­junc­tion was filed against Mark Camil­leri as the Chair­man of the Na­tional Book Coun­cil and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Em­ploy­ment.

Lawyers Mark Mif­sud Cu­ta­jar ap­peared for Dom Publi­ca­tions and An­drew Sciber­ras ap­peared for the Na­tional Book Coun­cil.

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