A special session on copyright was held to discuss the problem of piracy in the digital age, an important challenge facing the publishing industry.

The discussion was hosted by Bagus M. Adam, Digital Content Management Manager with Gramedia Digital, the largest digital book publishing platform in Indonesia, and included the participation of Madison Forsander, Legal Associate and Anti-Piracy Coordinator at Penguin Random House; Arief Hakim Sani Rahmat, Managing Director of PTS Media Group and President of the Malaysian Book Publishers Association (MABOPA); and Susanne Barwick, Deputy Legal Counsel at the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

The discussion focused on the main challenges faced by publishers in combatting digital infringement of rights, as well as strategies already used by key players in the publishing industry. For instance, one of the approaches already in place include automated monitoring of the web, which is currently the most effective tool in the fight against digital piracy, given the high volume of content which can affect publishers and the high potential for infringements across the internet. The guests also highlighted the gaps that currently exist in both national and international legal frameworks to combat piracy, and the significance of publishers collaborating with online platforms to deal with these issues.

Freedom to Publish

The Freedom to Publish session was entitled Under Pressure – resisting self-censorship in the age of the social media mob and featured the Kristenn Einarsson (Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee), Travin Jittedecharak (founder of Silkworm Books and current Secretary General of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association) and Ronny Augustinus (founder and chief editor of Marjin Kiri publisher). 

The conversation moved from international to regional and then national level in examining the evolution of freedom to publish challenges.

Einarsson noted how state censorship remains present but that libel laws and social media were also used to silence authors and publishers around the world.

Trasvin Jittedecharak spoke of her personal experience but also of the general situation in the ASEAN region where social media harassment is clearly an issue.

Ronny spoke about the situation in Indonesia noting the difficulties that publishers and their associations can face when standing up against threats.

The session closed on a positive note with all speakers recognizing that a regional freedom to publish group should be created.