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19.02.2009 General News

AWA alerts African Writers and Publishers on copyright settlement


The Pan African Writers' Association (PAWA), on Thursday said it had mounted a campaign to alert all African writers and publishers on the recent agreement reached with Google over the digitisation

and show of in-copyright books.
A statement issue in Accra signed by Prof Atukwei Okai Secretary General of PAWA said the groundbreaking settlement of 125 million US dollars was reached in a class action brought on behalf of a broad class of authors, publishers and the United States of America Copyright holders worldwide against the search engine superpowers, Google.

It said the lawsuit challenged Google's plan to among others, share digital copies with libraries without the explicit permission of the copyright owners.

The statement said the agreement acknowledged the rights and interests of copyright owners, provide an efficient means for them to control how their intellectual property was accessed online and enable them to receive compensation for online access to their works.

In addition, the agreement would provide more access to out-of-print books, additional ways to purchase copyright books, institutional subscription to millions of books online and compensations to authors and publishers and also control over access to their works.

PAWA had therefore called on African writers and publishers to indicate whether or not they would join the class action for them to benefit from the amount involved in the settlement arising out of the class action.

The statement said all writers and publishers were to visit the PAWA website on, for more information from a full document in five languages including English, French, Swahili, Arabic and Portuguese.