Each year on April 23, UNESCO and the rest of the world celebrate World Book and Copyright Day. It is a very important day for international book publishing because it is a worldwide celebration to promote reading and enjoyment of books. About 100 countries and more than a million people join in the celebration.
Although the sale of books has declined, it is expected that it would again stabilize, gauging from the steadily increasing number of self-published books. It cannot be denied that books still have the power to connect cultures and generations.
During the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, the international organizations that represent libraries, booksellers and publishers, together with UNESCO, choose a city to be the World Book Capital from April 23 until the succeeding year to maintain a series of activities for the annual observance. This year, Athens. Greece is the designated World Book Capital.
The quality of the activities Athens lined up for the year made it a very good choice as this year’s Book Capital. Athens plans to have books more accessible to the whole population of the city, including the refugees and migrants.
Significance of the date
April 23, 1995 was the first time the World Book and Copyright Day was celebrated. The inspiration for the celebration came from the tradition in Catalonia, Spain. Catalonia’s patron saint is St. George. According to local legend, St. George slayed the dragon on April 23 and saved a princess from being sacrificed. A rosebush grew on the spot where the dragon’s blood dripped. St. George (St. Jordi) picked the rose and gave it to the princess.
From then on, the tradition of a man giving a rose to the person he loves on St. George’s Day started.
In the 1920s, a bookseller from Catalonia realized that April 23 was the death anniversary of revered authors Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. He promoted the date as a good time to present someone with a book instead of a rose. Many followed the idea, which led to the birth of “The Day of the Book” or El Dia de Libre in Catalan.
The tradition is deeply established in Barcelona, which is the publishing hub for books in Spanish and Catalan languages. In the region, a book is exchanged for a rose and the gift-giving tradition on April 23 does not distinguish between genders.
Most of the annual book purchases in Catalonia happen during the region’s Book and Rose Fair. Booksellers present a rose to anyone who buys a book. Various other activities are planned during the event and many authors and publishers launch their books during the fair.
UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day
Barcelona’s annual Book and Rose Fair gave UNESCO the idea to declare April 23 as World Book and Copyright Day. It honors Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes who all died on April 23, 1616. It is also the day to honor books, authors and the copyright laws that protect the intellectual properties of the authors.
A few authors were born on April 23, such as Manuel Mejía Vallejo, Halldór Kiljan Laxness and Maurice Druon. Russian-American translator, entomologist and novelist Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov as born a day early in 1899. Catalan novelist and journalist Josep Pla died on April 23, 1981.
Various other factors make the World Book and Copyright Right Day very significant. It declares the intent of UNESCO to support equal access to knowledge, diversity and creativity. Various organizations work together to promote mobile learning, literacy, open access to educational resources and scientific knowledge.
What is a copyright?
A copyright, represented by the symbol © is a form of protection of intellectual property provided by a country’s laws. It provides an originator/creator/author the exclusive legal right to publish, print, reproduce, record, film or perform literary, musical or artistic material. A copyright protects different work categories, such as software, movies, photographs, live performances, literary works and paintings.
One very important thing to remember is that as the owner of the work, you only have 90 days or less to register your copyright or your claim for damages due to infringement may be extremely limited.
Understanding copyright laws
Repeating the copyrights if you copy something does not make it legal. The best way to do it for printed and online works is to give credit to the author, even if it is not needed. It could prevent you from being accused of copyright infringement, which has legal implications. Moreover, it shows that you follow good business ethics and are committed to being a professional.
1. Things not protected by copyright
Although a copyright provides protection, not everything is covered by a copyright. This includes magazine and newspaper headlines, song/poem or book title or small quotes from copyrighted materials. However, it is best to give credit to the original author.
2. Issue of ringtones
Many legal battles have been fought over copyright infringement, especially in music. There is a question whether ringtones produced from various published sources and music CDs are considered copyright infringement.
Ringtones cannot be considered copyright infringement if the person who created them will only utilize them for their own personal use. He or she should not promote or publish the ringtones or financially benefit from them. Any violation of these conditions is considered a copyright infringement.
Right now, creating ringtones for personal use from published works is allowed under the Fair Use Act in the United States.
3. Poor man’s copyright
Some authors/originators/creators believe that mailing a copy of the work in a sealed envelope is already proof that they have produced a work. Often called ”poor man’s copyright,” this practice does not protect the work and the stamped and delivered envelope that contained your work will not be admitted as evidence by a court if there is a question of a work’s ownership. If you are the author or original owner of the work, it is to you best interest to properly copyright-register the work.
Without the formal copyright registration, you cannot claim copyright infringement against someone in the United States.
Importance of copyright to authors
An author’s work is legally protected by a copyright. It protects something tangible from literary piracy, especially today when digital distribution and reproduction is very easy.
If you register you original work for a copyright, you have proof of ownership, which means you protect your work as it is your intellectual property and you can control how you make money out of your original work.
An author owns the copyright to his/her literary publication. A book contract controls which parts of the copyright are to be used and the payment that the publisher of the book should receive.
A copyright is granted to original works that are fully developed and fleshed out. A copyright would not be able to protect modes of operation, ideas or facts. However, a copyright can protect unpublished and published works.
It is important for book authors to register their work so their copyright will be included in the public record and the author will have a registration certificate that is their proof of ownership.
However, an author has to remember that titles are not subject to copyright.
If you are from the United States, your copyright is recognized in many countries as the U.S. has copyright relations worldwide. These agreements are the reasons why UNESCO created the World Book and Copyright Day. The organization aims to honor the copyrights of all citizens and focus on the value of copyright on a global level.
Activities for World Book and Copyright Day
At the headquarters of UNESCO, several activities are planned to celebrate the event. Invitations are sent to artists, publishing companies and booksellers to have practical workshops in different activities for young people such as manga creation, bookbinding, illustration and typography.
In Spain, the country holds a ”readathon” for two days. The winner will receive the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, which is traditionally given out in the city of Alcalá de Henares by the King of Spain.
As mentioned, roses and books are exchanged in Catalonia by the locals during the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day.
In many countries that celebrate the occasion, the public is invited to read books in public, such as in cafés, parks and buses. They are also requested to share their books with others.
The pleasure of reading foreign books in your own language is due to the works of talented and highly skilled translators. If you need literary translation, get in touch with Day Translations, Inc. at 1-800-969-6853 or contact us. Our translators are subject matter experts. All of them are native speakers and can accurately translate your book or document from and into over 100 languages. Call us now. We are open 24/7.
Happy World Book and Copyright Day from all of us at Day Translations!