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Publishing and the Internet How networked communications environment provide spaces needed for sharing of and developing human creativity By Henry Chakava.

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Presentation on theme: "Publishing and the Internet How networked communications environment provide spaces needed for sharing of and developing human creativity By Henry Chakava."— Presentation transcript:

1 Publishing and the Internet How networked communications environment provide spaces needed for sharing of and developing human creativity By Henry Chakava & Muriuki Njeru 18 July 2007 at Holiday Inn Nairobi

2 Introduction This presentation covers: 1.Publishing and the Internet Today: No holds barred! 2.Reading and critical thinking – pack these in your survival kit 3.Intellectual property as valuable resource 4.Copyright protection and access today 5.Balancing protection with access 6.Eyes on the road ahead

3 Publishing and the Internet Today 1.The Internet, intranets and other networked Communication Environments have greatly expanded space for information sharing and the publishing industry. 2.But around Africa, only a handful of authors, artists and photographers have access to computers and the Internet. These can research and write from own computers and submit soft copies to a publisher OR publish on the Web. 3.The African publisher receives mss in all forms: soft copies, typewritten, as well as handwritten. Each mss pursues a different path to publication. Sometimes the handwritten one commands higher reader approval and beats all the others in sales.

4 Publishing and the Internet Today 1.The camera-ready-copy goes for filming then printing OR is ed as a PDF to a PoD printer or Computer- to-Plate printer. 2.Our print quantities tend to be low for reasons ranging from a poor reading culture to weak language and industry policies. 3.PoD would be a good part-answer to our challenges. It is one technology that would leapfrog African publishing the way the mobile phone has done it in telephone communication. 4.It’s however capital intensive and has attracted little attention from the printers on the continent. 5.Meanwhile, the urban netizens in Africa have been publishing on the Web for the last 7 years or so.

5 Publishing and the Internet Today: no credentials needed, no holds barred! 1/2 1.The digital copy sent to press is highly manipulable: it can be structured and stored electronically, retrieved quickly, carried away (on a flash disk, CD, etc) or transmitted on or over the Internet, displayed on a PC screen or even on several (PC, TV, Mobile phones, PDAs, etc) screens simultaneously, be printed out and photocopied, etc. There is also a chance that if you google it, you could read the whole of it on the web – probably for free! 2.The speed at which this is happening is mind-boggling considering the technology we relied on only 10 to 15 years ago. 3.On the Internet, anyone can run a blog, podcast, wiki or feature gossip about anyone they please, from the remotest of locations via wireless technology. 4.Be careful what you think, whisper to friends or which keys you touch on your keyboard – spam, spyware, online fraud are proof enough how public even the most private has become! You may find a private matter as subject of vigorous debate on some site/blog!

6 Publishing and the Internet Today: no credentials needed, no holds barred! 2/2 1.The Internet has created vast opportunities for free expression: users/readers are also authors, publishers, sellers and buyers all rolled in one! 2.The Netizen generation is as promiscuous as it can get with sharing information – most of it grossly exaggerated to project the image of icons. 3.With digital information being highly falsifiable, we shall all have to learn to be more discerning as readers – and more forgiving. 4.It has its good side. Amazon, eBay, MySpace, YouTube, Google’s blogs, etc have all showcased some of the finest ideas we are benefiting from today. 5.Structured enquiry is clearly in danger. What with no credentials needed and with everyone with a mouse being only a click away from stardom, who needs serious study or research?

7 Reading and critical appreciation: pack these in your survival kit 1.A lot of work lies ahead for the publishing industry to ensure structured (informed/researched/learned) enquiry survives the current tower of Babel scene on the Web. 2.To ensure READERS (not just visitors) reward authors and inventors with higher Web hits, sales, subscriptions, downloads, comments – part of the global agenda should be to embark on an aggressive reading and critical thinking campaign to equip new users with skills that help them to navigate the forest that the Web has become. 3.Globalization has made reading and critical appreciation vital life-skills which we must pack in everyone’s survival kit.

8 Read to stimulate imagination, creativity 1.Reading stirs imagination and sharpens creativity; develops independence in learning; sharpens critical thinking on good and bad qualities of something; and puts the reader on a journey of discovery. 2.The internet has largely encouraged reading: most web pages are text based, with photos, video, radio and TV on the Web also relying on text for introduction. 3.The value of reading is set to increase since in today’s increasingly text-rich culture, expression/sharing experience will continue to depend heavily on packaging or extracting meaning. 4.To benefit from the Internet and help in realizing potential, governments and individuals must invest in promoting a reading culture.

9 Being unable to read cuts you off! 1.It is hard for people to be independent and make informed choices, run or add value to any process unless they can read ( s, web pages, sms, captions, titles, labels, expiry dates, warranties, signposts, newspapers, government publications, contracts, etc). 2.Being unable to read cuts people off: from networked communication environment; from their own potential and the society around them; and increases vulnerability and dependence on others. 3.This can have serious social and economic consequences: Any wonder that one of the Millennium Development Goals is to achieve universal primary education? Let’s aim a grade or two higher. 4.For Africa to develop and effectively share creativity in Networked Communication Environments, evolving a reading culture is a prerequisite. 5.The other important step is to lobby for libraries and other Public Access Points to provide access to information content generated by local, regional, national and international public authorities.

10 Intellectual property: the stone that the builders had rejected 1.Our civilization has over the last 15 years woken up to the importance of intellectual property as a valuable resource. 2.Today, over 50% of value of leading global companies comes from intangible assets, largely intellectual property, up from less than 30% in the early 80s. 3.Over the last decade, ideas and innovations have become the world’s most important resource, replacing land, energy and raw materials. 4.This increased value is passionately encouraged and at the same time threatened by the no-holds-barred culture on the Internet where being behind a mouse makes you an author/inventor. 5.This increased value has also, unfortunately, caught the eye of one segment of the society we have always tried to avoid – the IP thieves! You have met some of these: they pretend ideas have no owners, while others are milking a fortune in the piracy/counterfeit industry. 6.With such a high premium placed on these key resources, there is need for prudent management to ensure sustainability.

11 © protection and access The code for prudent management of Intellectual Property is Copyright and Patent Law. We focus on copyright law. This law acknowledges two facts: 1.It takes time, effort and resources to create a valuable resource: so © gives effective protection to the interests of rights holders with the aim of encouraging creativity and innovation; and 2.access is critical for a key resource to benefit society: so the law facilitates reasonable access with the aim of promoting research, education and learning and stimulating secondary creativity and innovation in users.

12 What rights, what protection? 1.Copyright law offers copyright holders (among other rights) the exclusive right to, and to authorize others to: a) reproduce the copyrighted work; b) prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; and c) distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public. 2.Networked communication environments have exposed the inadequacy of copyright law as presently constituted, and made it necessary to re-examine it and redefine terms of access.

13 New frontiers for protection 1.In general, Copyright law has so far failed to offer comprehensive protection to: a) Digital and web material (text, e-books, audio and audio-visual materials) b) traditional knowledge; c) traditional cultural expressions; and d) genetic resources. 2.Currently, there are initiatives that seek to develop policy and legislation to protect these. Due to the fast pace of technological change, the four areas present big challenges, as any response should be comprehensive without inhibiting access and sale of new products.

14 How copyright facilitates access 1.The “fair use” exception permits third parties, under certain circumstances, to reproduce copyrighted works for limited purposes, including teaching, news reporting, comment, scholarship and research. 2.It also permits libraries, archives and other Public Points of Access, under special circumstances, to reproduce or digitize copyrighted works. 3.The world runs on ideas. The policy guidelines and revised copyright laws should facilitate access – and in a more straightforward language

15 Protection promotes commerce 1.Copyright (and patents) confer only temporary rights. Eventually, the protection expires and the intellectual property is freely accessed by all. 2.During protection, the rights facilitate specialisation, so that the person who makes the invention, being not necessarily good at commerce, can leave the ideas with a publisher/industrialist who can convert the ideas into a commercial product for sale at the marketplace. 3.There is need to balance wide access with protection so that there is reduced risk of ruining investments made by industry and also avoid suffocating creativity itself.

16 Need for Protection 1.Protection provides the creators with the incentive to focus on new ideas, knowing that the past ones are investments which can support their present and future efforts. 2.It also allows structured follow-on research, refinement and innovation, which is essential for intellectual and industrial progress. 3.Information professionals and free-expression/human rights crusaders should thus promote respect for copyright and defend copyright works against piracy, unfair use and unauthorised exploitation, in both the print and the digital environment.

17 Librarians’ concerns 1.Traditionally, libraries and Public Information Centres have been able to provide reasonable access to the purchased copies of copyright works held in their collections, photocopying and digitizing their collections for their users under special circumstances. 2.Some librarians fear that, if in future all access and use of information in digital format becomes subject to payment, a library's ability to provide access to its users will be severely restricted. 3.Some segments of society feel that in the Information Age, stringent system of intellectual-property rights risks holding back intellectual and technological progress. 4.Some are advocating unlimited free access to ALL ideas, inventions, innovations, all books in digital format.

18 Challenges of modern technology 1.Arguably, sharing can add value to an innovation while hoarding innovation adds no value. 2.Unfortunately, modern technology makes reproduction of copyright/patented works both very easy and very tempting. 3.Today, it is so easy to reproduce music, books, articles and videos that one can copy a twenty- volume encyclopaedia in a flash, and distribute the same around the world in under 5 minutes! 4.This calls for new approaches to managing rights and access with minimum friction.

19 Selective access in libraries and schools 1.Effective sharing requires balancing interests of rights holders with those of users. 2.The answer may lie in using technology which allows selective access to digital material, whether on CD, DVD, network computers, intranets or on the Web (e.g. software, domain name system (DNS), Internet protocol (IP) address, or URL filtering for libraries. 3.Selectivity will put control in the hands of the librarian/Information professionals who understand their responsibilities to rights holders and impressionable learners/children. That way, we might minimize: a) unauthorized reproduction and b) children’s access to drugs and pornography. 4.A lot of weight here is in favour of empowering the end user with greater control in defining/refining/choosing what to (or not to) access.

20 Selective access in libraries and schools 1.However, libraries must uphold their crucial role of making available shared resources that can be used by all to stimulate imagination and inquiry, through literature and reference, for advancement of culture and commerce. 2.To continue offering a public service that is open to all and benefiting most those who are least able to afford private provision, libraries should continue to offer access that de-emphasises making copies or downloading, free of charge.

21 The value of information 1.Partnership between rights owners and users should be promoted largely based on mutual understanding of the need to ensure the creators gain from their ideas; and that library borrowing/access will lead to enhanced reading habits and hopefully generate sales. 2.It is in everyone’s interest to encourage users to respect the value of information by paying for that which might not be available free of charge. 3.It is also in the interest of information creators to facilitate easier access to information by charging just a modest fee for the page or chapter that the user needs to photocopy, print, save or download.

22 Eyes on the road ahead There is need to enhance sensitization of the users by making them: 1.Understand that intellectual property now ranks at par with (if not higher than) other property such as land and real estate. 2.Uphold respect for copyright as a societal value in all decent societies. 3.Learn the importance of protecting intellectual property by teaching it in the curricula for schools and colleges. 4.Appreciate that the Internet can peacefully grow and flourish as a biped: with one foot on the structured enquiry/scientific world of systematic vetting of ideas (we can pay or subscribe to this) and the other foot in the fluid anarchistic realm of free expression on anything and everything.

23 Eyes on the road ahead 1.Things may seem a little muddled up by rapid technological advancement at the moment but just like we will still need teachers, organized delivery of ideas (a responsibility which has so far been with the publishers, librarians, the media and other information professionals) will become more valued. 2.Content is currently being delivered in a variety of formats depending on retrieval technologies. At some point, however, just one electronic copy will be smartly structured and filtered to allow trouble-free access using any technology – mobile, wireless or satellite phone; PCs; PDAs; digital audio or audio-visual TV set, etc – all delivered via the Internet. 3.The challenges posed by the integration of new technologies (the scanner/digital camera/mobile phone/computer together with instant messaging capabilities, the intranet and the Internet) all point to the urgency to finalize global policies on compatibility, copyright and intellectual property.

24 Eyes on the road ahead To encourage development and sustainability of human creativity, innovation and sharing of experiences, we need to: 1.Develop a technology that will facilitate filtering (i.e. access by choice) so that the user’s searching and retrieval is NOT frustrated and compromised by hundreds of pop-ups, callouts, unwanted ads or offensive content. 2.Recognize and reward those who put forward ideas that take the world and our civilization to the next level. This is what updated copyright and patent law should facilitate. 3.Water the tree of free expression by encouraging everyone to express their opinions and experiences as openly as possible through blogs, wikis, podcasts, e-books, and others yet to come. Why? Because this is good for the future growth of the Internet as well for the social, technological, economic and political health of our world. Thank You!

25 Credits… This presentation was possible through the joint efforts of Dr Henry Chakava and myself, Muriuki Njeru. It has also drawn inspiration from the work of other intellectual property owners which I came across on various websites and publications, including: Kenya Publishers’ Association, WIPO, IFRRA, KOPINOR, CILIP, LACA, IFLA, The Bookseller, LOGOS, The Economist, Havard Business Review Journal, The Newsweek, EU, and UK’s Department for Culture Media and Sports, among others.


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