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Piracy attacked at Sharjah Publishers Conference

The scourge of piracy was raised by speakers at a session on digital publishing in the Arab World.  Salah Chebaro from Lebanon, founder and CEO of online bookseller Neelwafurat, held up a list of 100 websites which are selling pirated books.  “We have to wipe them out.  Google is benefiting from their advertising and is encouraging theft.”

Chebara also urged the publishing industry in the Arab World to rise to the challenge presented by the contrasting figures when the Arab World compared itself with the US.  “There you have an industry worth $7bn and a population of 350m.  In the Arab World you have a population of 430m but an industry only worth $150,000m.  It is an opportunity”.

 Earlier, MC Richard Charkin – an industry veteran who recently notched up his 50th Frankfurt – noted that some challenges for the industry refused to go away, among them the freedom to publish, “piracy and big tech”.  But he added there were new opportunities took among them “audio books, digital growth, new forms of content licensing and the globalisation of local literature”.

 On behalf of all the conference’s international visitors,  Charkin thanked His Highness Dr Sheikh Sutlan bin Mohamed al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, “for making this event possible”, and extended these thanks to “our good friend Sheikha Bodour al Qasimi, president of the International Publishers Association and Ahmed al Ameri, chairman of Sharjah Book Authority”.  All were warmly applauded.

Charkin concluded: “Book fairs, and particularly those in the knowledge economies of the future, have a huge part to play in knowledge transfer, the creation of commercial opportunities, and cultural, educational and scientific progress.”