Children’s Book Council of Iran asks publishers to respect copyrights

April 25, 2022 - 18:58

TEHRAN – Children’s Book Council of Iran on April 23, which is celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day, asked Iranian publishers of children’s books to respect copyrights.

In a statement, the council celebrated the occasion and said, “Although Iran has not joined any international copyright convention, the country should respect copyrights.”

“Over the past few years, some private Iranian companies have entered into negotiations with foreign writers or publishers to acquire the copyrights of their books,” the statement added.

The council also said that all its satellite institutes highly respect copyrights. 

Iranian publishers, writers, translators and some private cultural organizations have stressed the need for joining the international conventions on copyrights over the past decade.

They have said that the lack of copyright protection in Iran is a major obstacle in the way of publishing translated books, spoiling numerous opportunities to take part in major international cultural events.

Arsalan Fasihi, a Persian translator of works by Turkish writers Orhan Pamuk, Aziz Nesin and Elif Safak, has earlier criticized Iranian translators for copying books already translated by their colleagues, and called this plagiarism.

Joining the Berne convention on copyrights will prevent plagiarism as well as having several translators working on the same foreign book, he noted.

Quoting the director of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Juergen Boos, Iranian Cultural Attaché Ali Mujani said in 2018 that Iran’s absence from international conventions on copyrights has thus far prevented the organizers of the fair from hosting Iran as a special guest.

UNESCO celebrates April 23 every year as World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day, to promote reading, publishing and copyrights. 

The first World Book Day was celebrated in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day. On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO along with the advisory committee from the major sectors of the book industry, select the World Book Capital for one year.

In 2022, the Mexican city of Guadalajara is taking up the mantle of World Book Capital, with a year-long program that focuses on the role of books and reading in triggering social change, combating violence and building a culture of peace.

The original idea for celebrating an international day for books was conceived in 1922 by Spanish writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honor the author Miguel de Cervantes. 

It was first celebrated on October 7, 1926, Cervantes’ birthday, before being moved to his death date, April 23, 1930. 

The celebration continued to enjoy great popularity in Spain, especially in Catalonia, where it coincides with the Diada de Sant Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia. The Diada usually involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones, and, since the 1931 Book Fair in Barcelona, the customary gifts are a book and a rose.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on April 23, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.

Photo: A file photo shows a woman visiting the 32nd Tehran International Book Fair on April 29, 2019. (Fars/Mehdi Marizad)

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