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Daniel Gervais

Distinguished international Intellectual Property Law expert, Professor Daniel Gervais, delivered the 2019 Charles Clark Memorial lecture at the London Book Fair, this year.

One of the undoubted highlights of each year’s London Book Fair is the Charles Clark Memorial Lecture, where international IP and copyright law experts are invited to deliver an address honouring the achievements of the late Charles Clark, a British publisher, lawyer and celebrated authority on copyright.

This year, the invited speaker was Professor Daniel Gervais whose distinguished career includes stints working at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC), and the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO). The author of a number of books on copyright- and trade-related issues, he is editor-in-chief of the Journal of World Intellectual Property, and currently holds the Milton R Underwood Chair in Law and is Director of the Vanderbilt Intellectual Property Program at Vanderbilt Law School, in Nashville Tennessee. 

Introduced by William Bowes – Chair of the IPA’s Copyright Committee and the PA UK’s Director of Policy and General Counsel – Professor Gervais’s lecture focused on the changing role of intermediation in delivering informational and cultural goods, on exceptions as the new rules, and on copyright and progress. Gervais highlighted the fact that WIPO’s internet treaties were negotiated very quickly in 1996, an irony not lost on those of us in the room who have been following the glacial progress of current WIPO debates. Gervais warned that although change is constant it is a mistake to always equate change with progress. He reinforced what good publishers have always known, that it is absolutely key for publishers to work with authors on issues of copyright. Finally, he stressed that it is fundamental to success in the digital age to focus on the customer and the worst thing publishers can do is for content to simply NOT be available. In other words, we must continue to find ways, somehow, for everyone to legitimately access all of our works.

The Charles Clark Memorial Lecture was first delivered in 2008, and is sponsored by the Publishers Association (PA), Publishers’ Licensing Services (PLS), the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA), the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the International Publishers Association (IPA).

You can download a copy of Daniel’s slides and a full transcript of his speech will be available soon.

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