In and Around the Halls: Frankfurt 2010

My Frankfurt, though, doesn’t take place on the exhibit floor of Hall 8 but in conference rooms at meetings of other publishing associations: the International Publishers Association (IPA), International STM, the International Federation of Scholarly Publishers (IFSP), and the newly-formed Association of European University Presses (AEUP). A quick overview of some highlights is below.

One of the important items on the agenda for the IPA Members General Meeting in Frankfurt was the election of a new President. There were three candidates, and after two rounds of balloting Y.S. Chi emerged as the winner.  His term begins on January 1.

Y.S. is currently CEO of Elsevier’s Science and Technology Division, but a number of you will remember him as a co-founder of Lightning Source, about which he spoke at an AAUP Annual Meeting a few years back. He has been Chairman of Random House Asia, and is a trustee of Princeton University Press and a member of Princeton University’s Board of Trustees. I’m very pleased with his selection; he will be a strong leader for IPA at a time when there is pressure to broaden copyright exceptions and to limit freedom to publish at WIPO.

IPA recently formed an Education Committee, which has started to track a shift in funding for public education from the purchase of textbooks from publishers to the development of electronic teaching materials by the state itself. This trend, popularly seen and promoted as a cost-saving measure, has a number of serious implications:  state control of the information presented in classrooms and a loss of diversity in the point of view from which those materials are presented are two obvious ones. Moreover, in developing countries educational publishing comprises the vast majority of the all publishing; having the state monopolize educational publishing hamstrings the development of a robust local publishing industry.

Piracy continues to be a major international concern. The IPA Copyright Committee has asked the Secretariat to begin drafting a position paper on copyright piracy and enforcement, and IPA sponsored an Anti-Piracy Breakfast meeting, with presentations on WIPO’s public awareness program, internet culture, the UK’s experience with piracy in music, and various national approaches to ISP liability.

Peter Givler
Executive Director, AAUP