The 7th IPA Copyright Symposium closed this week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). For two days more than 270 registered participants and global experts from 53 nations discussed copyright and publishing policy issues.

7th IPA Copyright Symposium: A Rich Program

In the opening ceremony, IPA President Herman P. Spruijt declared: “Copyright is the legal principle that expresses society’s respect for authors and publishers, and protects the commercial interest in their creation… Copyright is not a panacea, not a fortress against theft, and not a political dogma. It is a tool that must be adapted, not only to new technologies but also to changes in society.”

Copyright policy issues took centre stage in the debates about the future of publishing. EBooks, internet piracy, the Google Book Settlement, collective licensing and copyright exceptions were among the issues that were debated during the IPA Copyright Symposium in Abu Dhabi. Whilst many topics are thoroughly debated in the developed countries, many publishers from developing countries came to learn and share their perspective. The Symposium was a unique opportunity to mix with publishers from 53 countries including Sri Lanka, Colombia, Armenia, Georgia, Macedonia, Mauretania, Oman, Yemen, Iran or Iraq, to name but a few.

The IPA Symposium concluded with words from award winning US/Iranian author Azar Nafisi. In a rousing and passionate closing speech, the author of Reading Lolita in Teheran emphasised the close relationship between writing, freedom of expression and humanity

Publishing in the Middle-East Holds Great Promise

The fact that IPA’s 7th Copyright Symposium took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE, was a way for IPA to support its new affiliate member, the Emirates Publishers Association chaired by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, and to witness the strong commitment of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates who in many ways are showing exemplary support for publishing in their country. The 7th IPA Copyright Symposium also showed that respect for, and understanding of copyright, was an important part of that policy support.

According to some estimates, the Arab publishing industry could grow fourfold to fulfil its market potential. For this to happen, policy makers must get their copyright policies right to support their local publishing industries.

Thanks to ADACH, KITAB, APA and EPA

The IPA President also formally thanked the Abu Dhabi Authority for Cultural Heritage, ADACH (, and KITAB (, the organiser of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, for their interest in the issue and their financial and logistical support. IPA also thanked the Emirates Publishers Association, IPA’s affiliate member in the UAE, and the Arab Publishers Association (APA), IPA’s associate member in the region.

Notes for Editors:

About IPA & the IPA Copyright Symposia

The International Publishers Association (IPA) is an international industry federation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing. Established in 1896, IPA's mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness for publishing as a force for economic, cultural and political development. Around the world, IPA actively fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish. It is an industry association with a human rights mandate.

The IPA International Copyright Symposium was the 7th of its kind. The meeting was held in the run up to the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, on 28 February and 1 March 2010. It has been held every four years. Past venues include Heidelberg, Paris, Turin, Tokyo, Accra and Montreal.

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