Participants at the Intellectual Property Rights Conference: Protecting Creativity in the New Republic

The conference was organized during the Cairo International Book Fair by the General Egyptian Book Organization to discuss Egypt’s recently released National Intellectual Property Strategy which, according to the government, ‘aims at consolidating the foundations of the intellectual property protection system in Egypt … [in] full recognition of the role of intellectual property protection in advancing the Egyptian economy.’

Borghino spoke of the crucial role of publishers as the innovators and risk-takers in the book value chain, investing in both hard-copy and digital technologies to bring the words and visions of writers to the widest possible audience. He described copyright as the mechanism we have invented for ensuring that authors are rewarded for their creativity and encouraged to continue creating. And he urged the Egyptian government to put copyright and publishers at the centre of its new intellectual property strategy.

Sänger spoke about how IPA protected copyright by advocating for strong legal frameworks for exclusive rights such as the rights of reproduction, distribution, lending and rental; and, in the digital world, the rights of communication to the public and of making available. She pressed for the introduction of appropriate tools and mechanisms to prevent abuse and ensure adequate compensation wherever infringements have caused harm. To combat digital infringement, she suggested efficient notice and take down procedures, as well as notice and stay down where necessary, and site blocking for pirate sites, with special sanctions for repeat infringers.

Borghino and Sänger took the opportunity of being in Cairo to address the Arab Publishers Association (APA) which was holding a board meeting during the Book Fair. They also met with Khaled Lotfy, who was awarded the 2019 Prix Voltaire.