EPF / IPA meetings

The first meeting in 2017 was held in London during the London Book fair (15th March). A new chairman (Wilmar Diepgrond, Germany) and a new vice chairman (Jaume Vicens Barceló, Spain) were appointed for a two-year period. Jay Diskey, out going chairman, strongly endorsed the role of IPA-EPF as the voice of educational publishers, supported by members from over the 30 countries, the only organisation with global scale and still growing. He saw the challenge as being seen of doing more on digital.

Other important points:
  • European members of EPF have been working for closer collaboration between EPF and the Federation of European Publishers, to enhance the lobbying capability in Brussels. A small group has prepared a paper for discussion by the FEP board at their May meeting. The paper will be circulated to EPF members after the meeting.
  • A WIPO SCCR meeting took place in the first week of May in Geneva. Developing world groups want a broadening of exceptions for education. So far the EU, US and 'Group B' (developed countries) are holding firm, and IPA brought educational publishers to a side event at the SCCR meeting to demonstrate the threat to their own publishing sectors deriving from the positions adopted by SCCR delegates. You can find more information here. There will be an IPA position paper on educational exceptions, which we will publish once it is available.
  • Michele Woods, Director, WIPO Copyright Law Division was invited as a guest speaker. She has worked at the US Copyright Office. Topics for SCCR are currently a possible broadcasting treaty, and exceptions and limitations in the following areas: libraries & archives; educational institutions; and disabilities other than the visually impaired. Education is the most important for developing states, but EU etc. are not interested in a treaty, with licensing schemes already in place. An extensive study of educational exceptions at national level is still evolving. There is no consensus in SCCR, and no working document exists. A scoping study on what member states are doing about "other disabilities" is getting under way. The new Deputy DG wants to do pilot studies before moving forward and is willing to involve IPA over the provision of textbooks for developing countries. The short-term objective is to demonstrate how existing solutions are working by supporting local industries without the need to change laws, although it is acknowledged that many countries give over the primary level market to state provision.
  • Special Session on Accessibility after Marrakesh. There was a presentation about the UNICEF "Universal Design Accessible Textbook" project that is developing an innovative solution to bringing digital books to learners of all disabilities. Estimates indicate up to 150m children with disabilities, 80% in the developing world. At the heart of this effort is a format extension to EPUB3 that allows "multi-rendition" of ebooks. In practice this means short texts or other textbook elements can be accompanied by special audio and video clips that address specific disabilities. This demonstration of a simple example from the prototype shows the incorporation of sign language into a textbook. The technology has to be practical and this is where early publisher input and engagement is needed. Speakers Gopal Mitra, a program specialist from UNICEF, and Pedro Milliet, a program director from Brazil urged educational publishers to get involved in the development and to pursue the new market opportunities that the project reveals.
  • There is a New FEP brochure: The Book Sector in Europe: Facts and Figures, which is available as a download from the FEP website.
  • EPF Calendar:
    • Next EPF: It was agreed to convene the next EPF in Geneva on 26th/ 27th June [changed from 22nd/23rd June as proposed in Vienna].
    • Frankfurt: The EPF Open Forum will be on Friday 13th October. Proposals for presentations will be discussed at the next meeting.
    • IPA World Congress (held every two years) will be in New Delhi beginning 14th February 2018. An educational publishing panel will be included.