Daily Observer (Jamaica)

Book in­dus­try group re­peats need for copy­right con­trol

- BY KIM­BER­LEY HIB­BERT Education · Jamaica · Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology · Ministry of Human Resource Development · Telegram Messenger · The Copyright Licensing Agency

AS a ma­jor­ity of schools adopt on­line teach­ing modal­i­ties, the Book In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica (BIAJ) and the Ja­maica Copy­right Li­cens­ing Agency (JAMCOPY) are re­new­ing a decade-old call for the education min­istry to ac­quire the ad­e­quate li­cence to cover the copy­right of ma­te­ri­als be­ing used in schools.

Two weeks ago, Education Min­is­ter Fay­val Wil­liams as­sured the BIAJ that the min­istry would en­sure the nec­es­sary agree­ments on copy­right and copy­ing printed ma­te­rial in schools are in place in the short­est pos­si­ble time. The education min­is­ter also com­mit­ted to work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tively with the BIAJ as the coun­try moves into util­is­ing e-books and more of the on­line plat­forms for teach­ing and learning.

The con­ver­sa­tion is based on is­sues that Latoya West Black­wood, chair­per­son of the BIAJ, raised dur­ing a meet­ing with Wil­liams re­gard­ing con­cerns re­gard­ing copy­right and down­load­ing of ma­te­rial from text­books, where there was no agree­ment on copy­ing printed ma­te­rial in schools.

But West Black­wood said de­spite hav­ing the com­mit­ment from the education min­istry, it is im­por­tant to keep the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing to re­in­force the im­por­tance of re­spect­ing copy­right.

Fur­ther the BIAJ chair­per­son said it is no longer a sit­u­a­tion where one per­son copies the whole con­tents of a book and re­sells it, and for that rea­son pri­or­ity must be given to ac­quir­ing the req­ui­site li­cence.

“The same way we are mak­ing the trans­for­ma­tion to sup­port the education sec­tor legally by pro­vid­ing dig­i­tal works and fa­cil­i­tat­ing on­line learning, it is the same way that that il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity of breach­ing copy­right that used to be lim­ited by phys­i­cal copy­ing has moved over into the dig­i­tal realm in terms of piracy,” West Black­wood said. “It’s al­ways been a prob­lem but the risk of it and the real threat and the pace at which it can un­fold is rea­son enough that the min­istry in par­tic­u­lar, as the body that is pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for hun­dreds of in­sti­tu­tions, need to ur­gently meet with JAMCOPY to re­solve and dis­cuss the long drawn out is­sues of get­ting proper li­cens­ing in place. Our records re­flect that that dis­cus­sion be­tween JAMCOPY and the min­istry has been dragged out for more than 15 years.”

West Black­wood added: “We are work­ing with the min­is­ter’s as­sur­ance but the next step in terms of an ac­tion has to be that meet­ing with JAMCOPY. It’s not just about lob­by­ing to pro­tect mem­bers. It will in­crease ac­ces­si­bil­ity for the peo­ple we are try­ing to ben­e­fit, which are the stu­dents and other stake­hold­ers in the education sec­tor so that they can have more ac­cess. With the proper frame­work for li­cens­ing, more cre­ators will feel com­fort­able shar­ing their work and mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble to the peo­ple who need them.”

Re­gard­ing whether copy­right breaches has in­creased since COVID-19, Carol New­man, gen­eral man­ager at JAMCOPY, said while the en­tity can­not as­sess the quan­tity of breaches since the pan­demic, it be­lieves that teach­ers are copy­ing ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial for dis­tri­bu­tion on­line and oth­er­wise, at least as much as they pre­vi­ously sup­plied in-class copies.

Sub­se­quently, New­man said this is the rea­son JAMCOPY has been ad­vo­cat­ing for a na­tional so­lu­tion through the Min­istry of Education.

Fur­ther, New­man said the path for proper li­cens­ing has al­ready been paved as a li­cence agree­ment is ready to go and has been shared with the min­istry from as far back as 2005. How­ever, it has not been given cre­dence.

“JAMCOPY has been press­ing the Min­istry of Education for a so­lu­tion since 2004. So far, ev­ery ap­proach we’ve made has foundered af­ter one or two meet­ings,” New­man said.

Ac­cord­ing to New­man, the in­fringe­ments which typ­i­cally in­volve pho­to­copy­ing from books, news­pa­pers, jour­nals, mag­a­zines — any pub­lished ma­te­rial — and hand­ing out those copies to ev­ery­one in the class.

In the on­line teach­ing en­vi­ron­ment, New­man said, it also in­cludes scan­ning and shar­ing scanned pages and PDF copies through e-mail, mes­sag­ing apps, learning man­age­ment sys­tems and re­marked that at post-sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions, this copy­ing is more likely to in­volve scan­ning and elec­tronic dis­tri­bu­tion.

“As to how much is copied, this can range from a page or two, up to an en­tire chap­ter or more of a book. There have also been sev­eral re­ports of en­tire books be­ing elec­tron­i­cally shared,” she said.

New­man ex­plained that the prac­tice di­min­ishes our in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, as other coun­tries have for decades had ef­fec­tive ed­u­ca­tional li­cens­ing.

“It threat­ens the vi­a­bil­ity of our cre­ative industries, which in­cludes our lo­cal book pub­lish­ing in­dus­try. Why would peo­ple com­pose mu­sic, make films, write and pub­lish books if any­one can sim­ply take what they want with­out pay­ing?

“Pub­lish­ing plays a vi­tal role in ed­u­cat­ing, in­form­ing and shap­ing the world view of the na­tion’s hu­man re­sources. Books are the bedrock of lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy, pro­vid­ing the gate­way to the ac­qui­si­tion of knowl­edge, and the de­vel­op­ment of the skills and abil­i­ties of the pop­u­la­tion. Indige­nous pub­lish­ing plays a unique cul­tural role in help­ing the na­tion to gen­er­ate, record and dis­sem­i­nate knowl­edge and in­for­ma­tion about its own cul­ture for the de­vel­op­ment of its own peo­ple,” New­man said.

She added: “We must there­fore, as a na­tion, seek to to pro­mote re­spect for copy­right and com­pli­ance with the Copy­right Act, so that our cre­ators and pub­lish­ers can be com­pen­sated for the use and re­use of their in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and we can all con­tinue to ben­e­fit from their cre­ativ­ity.”

 ?? (Photo: Naph­tali Ju­nior) ?? WIL­LIAMS... gave book in­dus­try as­sur­ance
(Photo: Naph­tali Ju­nior) WIL­LIAMS... gave book in­dus­try as­sur­ance
 ??  ?? Meet­ing with JAMCOPY nec­es­sary, says West Black­wood
Meet­ing with JAMCOPY nec­es­sary, says West Black­wood
 ??  ?? NEW­MAN... JAMCOPY has been ad­vo­cat­ing for a na­tional so­lu­tion
NEW­MAN... JAMCOPY has been ad­vo­cat­ing for a na­tional so­lu­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica