Copyright in the digital environment

In session four we focused on various aspects including the history of intellectual property, copyright, and so on. In fact, what caught my attention is the copyright in the digital environment.

As we know, Internet use has led to the occurrence of multiple legal problems, including with regard to how the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works available in the digital environment. The copyright owners are facing in the digital environment interlocking large number of difficulties and issues and problems because of publishing in this digital environment or the availability of their works on them.And that is because in the presence of the majority of the ease with which we can clone material published electronically on the Internet and the lack of financial costs that require it.

It is worth mentioning copyright agreement confirmed in Article 8 to protect digital works published over the internet, which stipulates that: “The authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the transfer of their works to the public in any wired or wireless way, including the availability of their works to the public so that anyone in the capacity of the public access to these works from a place and at a time chosen by any member of the public … themself. ”

Difficulties that may face the copyright owner

There are a number of fears that make copyright holders to request more legal protection when his work is published on the Internet, including:

  1. Difficulties for the author to a fee from the exploitation of Internet users to this workbook without a license from the author or his permission.
  2. Difficult to stop or prevent the publication or limit its spread.
  3. Many different jurisdictions and legal conflicts over the rights of authors in the digital environment.
  4. Difficult to trace the aggressors on the copyright owner the right where he finds himself either the prosecution and the follow-up and a person who many are present in several countries in addition to the large material cost to prosecute the persons aggressors in several countries, and this requires a great effort.

The protection of copyright material and moral rights is one of the most important conditions for the continuation of production and creativity, where the presence of this production, and continue one of the prerequisites for the development of social, economic and cultural life of any country or community, and particularly the Arab countries and developing, which means that public awareness of the importance of protecting the rights of authors , a necessary condition for continued innovation and creation process in all its forms.


The Notion of Author from a Philosophical Perspective

In the third LAPIS session we touched upon certain philosophical theories that revolve around the concept of the  author. In the session we focused on the relationship between author and text with reference to Foulcault’s lecture in 1969 on literary theory.

There had been a classic look for literary work based on that any literary work is the product of a legitimate author and a reflection of his life, culture and psychology. Then came along another critical call for a focus on the language of the text with the isolation of the author, who no longer has the power to dominate the meanings of the text and its implications.

What is an author?

If we look at the question, some may say that the wording of the question might be wrong. Perhaps it is more accurate to say “who is the Author?” as was the target of a lecture by Michel Foucault in 1969.

This lecture was delivered in the context of an intellectual climate common to that period in France, which was about the idea of the self-exclusion of the author. About two years prior to that lecture, Roland Barthes published an essay, entitled “The death of the author” and many think that Foucault’s lecture was a response to Barthes’ essay.

It is worth mentioning that this lecture was a response to an invitation from the French Society of Philosophy as recognition of his contribution to postmodern philosophy. Ironically, the title and the  content of the lecture turned out to be the vitriol for the institution. After all, Foucault came to confirm that the author is just an invention of the seventeenth century.

The Author in classical critical theories was the producer and the creator of the speech, so technical criticism revolved around the author-“figure”. In other words, the author according to Foucault has obtained unnecessarily a heroic status whose function serves the society and culture.

The Death of the Author

The “Death of the author” goes back to the philosophical and intellectual roots linked to conditions experienced by Europe after the separation of the Church from the State. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God by saying that “God is dead”. This phrase resonated widely among European critics.

The “Death of the author” aims to liberate the text of the authority of the author, it opens the text to the reader, as the reader’s initial interest is the actual text and Barthes has pointed out that language is spoken in the work and not by the author. In other words, it the text that makes the author and not the other way round.

History of Publishing, Printing and more . . .

In the second LAPSI session, we were presented with a brief look on the history of publishing and printing, which started in the second century AD where the Chinese had invented a way to print books, by printing graphics and designs on cloth and according to some sources Xue Tao supported herself as a maker of artisanal paper which was used for writing poems.

In Europe, during the mid-15th century a printing machine invented by the German Johannes Gutenberg in 1436 revolutionized the world of communication. This invention is regarded as the most influential breakthrough in the human history as without it we wouldn’t be able to print money, newspapers, and books and spread knowledge worldwide.

I would like to also refer here to the printing in the Islamic world. Muslims have begun printing wooden templates like the Chinese, and upon the advent of Islam almost three centuries after, Arabs were dependent on copying books by hand calligraphy.

Regarding to Arabic calligraphy, I am proud to mention that I learned it when I was 13 years old and I am still practicing this craft because I believe that Arabic calligraphy is of great artistic value.

Anyhow, talking about the history of publishing and printing is important in terms of understanding the culture and economy of any society. 40 years ago, publishing meant paper, ink, typewriter, and printer. Nowadays, printing means e-publishing, self-publishing and publishing in the digital landscape. This major shift in printing made me wonder who is affecting the publishing process.

Knowledge Economy

In this session we also looked at the knowledge economy; a new branch of Economic Sciences, which appeared in recent times and is based on a new more profound understanding of the role of knowledge and human capital in the development of the economy and the progress of society. It may be summed up as deploy, configure and exchange of knowledge economic “activity knowledge as a commodity.” Knowledge, throughout history, has always been a source of building human civilizations in every time and place. This can be demonstrated by two facts.

First fact: the accumulation of human knowledge and skills and capabilities that resulted in the improvement of living standards and well being of many countries.

Second fact: the development of information and communication systems and applications techniques and spread at a reasonable cost on a large scale which allowed knowledge to be dealt with ease and speed, away from border restrictions and long distances.

Disruptive Innovation

We also focused on disruptive innovation, which is an innovation  that helps create a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. During the session, Ernesto gave some examples of disruptive innovation and asked us to give more examples. Here some examples:

-CD disrupted Cassette.

– IPod disrupted CD.

First Words in Publishing. . .

In the first session in “ Libraries and Publishing in an Information Society “ module we discussed the meaning and principle of “publishing” which is (the process of production and dissemination of literature, music, or information — the activity of making information available to the general public).

Through that definition, we can see the basic concept of (Publishing) which is (Availability).

Although it was the first lecture in this module, the first think crossed my mind was (e-publishing) and It makes sense to think of it first, where we are in the 21st century, and publishing Information became the simplest thing that you can do, you do not need to be an academic or an expert in publishing, all you need is obtaining a smart phone or a computer and within minutes you can publish your ideas to millions of readers around the world.

Quick overview of the contents of this module: we will discuss a lot of important concepts in the Libraries and publishing such as the history of publishing, newspaper journalism and its transformations during the 20th and 21st century, the copyright and more. I am very excited for the rest of lectures and I will write a weekly post about what I learned and what is the relevant to the library sector.

Keep an eye on my blog and Share your thoughts.