Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Viet Nam Copyright War

It was interesting to read an article today published by the Viet Nam New agency, ‘Most ebook-sharing sites violate copyright’. It clearly shows the problems of a poorer economy which is trying to grapple with increasing demand, high, copyright ignorance, cost and to what to some appears an easy solution – piracy.

Duong Thu Ai, a translator and author of nearly 200 books, says, "About 30-40 websites have published my work. They have never sought my permission." Tre Publishing House director, Pham Sy Sau said most Viet Nam ebook-sharing websites violated copyrights. Due to the scale of the issue, many foreign publishers are hesitant to deal with Vietnamese publishing houses.

Nguyen Vu Phuong, a senior official of the Viet Nam Literary Copyright Centre, says, "If we put ourselves in the authors’ shoes, we will understand how painful and discouraging it must be when their works are easily distributed by a click, while they rarely receive any acknowledgement, let alone monetary compensation. If writers continually receive such treatment, they will not be motivated to create works of great value. Society’s creativity will eventually be degraded.” On the other hand he says, “Viet Nam’s very young population craves knowledge and most is gained from books. Not many young people can afford books from big stores. Because the content is what they want, they try to get it as cheaply as possible, free if possible".

However, help may be coming from a familiar source. Google is reported as suggested a book search settlement with Vietnamese authors. Google would compensate authors, including Vietnamese, whose books were digitised without permission since 2004. It is believed that a deal between Vietnamese authors and Google would put the copyright issue in Viet Nam in the spotlight.

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