As was evident everywhere at the recent Frankfurt Book Fair, publishing today depends on technology, and technology is pressing copyright in ways never imagined in the days of printing presses. Copyright holders in the digital age are under challenge across the globe, not only from wide-ranging infringement, but also from so-called “reform.”

In a panel discussion for The Markets Conference, a day-long event highlighting important national markets for publishing around the world, participants pondered over the future of copyright – and even more importantly, whether copyright has a future. The answer we heard was “Yes, but only if we want it to be.”

Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 Future of Copyright Panel

One way to predict the future is to invent it – to give it shape in the present. As Sarah Faulder of the UK’s Publishers Licensing Society sees it, we might even need a new word for a new age. “We have thought long and hard about what we could replace the word copyright with, and no one has come up with a good solution.  It does have a very arcane, historic ring to it, which is not helpful in the internet age.  But I think what we’re very focused on now is making copyright work in practice,” she said.

Joining Faulder were Rawan Dabbas of the Emirates Publishers Association (UAE) and Marcos Pereira of Brazil’s Syndicato Nacional dos Editores de Livros. They shared with moderator Chris Kenneally how publishers are managing the ongoing disruption to copyright by harnessing market-driven forces.

Rawan Dabbas is the Head of International Relations at the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA). A lawyer by profession, she has leveraged her skills to enhance the legal framework for publishers in the UAE, and has been instrumental in facilitating discussions between several stakeholders including the EPA and Ministry of Economy to establish the Arab world’s first Reproduction Rights Organization.

Sarah Faulder was appointed Chief Executive of the United Kingdom’s Publishers Licensing Society (PLS) in October 2010. In her early career, Sarah practiced law at a London firm, specializing in copyright. She then worked in the music industry for over 13 years, first as Chief Executive of the Music Publishers Association before becoming Chargée de Mission at BIEM and CISAC, the Paris-based international umbrella organizations for collecting societies, and later, as Public Affairs Director for the UK’s PRS for Music, a licensing society of songwriters, composers and music publishers.

Marcos da Veiga Pereira is one of the partners of Grupo Sextante, one of Brazil’s leading trade book publishers. From 2003-2005, he was Vice President of the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL), and in 2014, he became President of the country’s Publisher’s Association Sindicato Nacional dos Editores de Livros (SNEL), after 10 years serving there as a director.

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