European and International Booksellers Federation

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BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS LETTER TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE HONG KONG SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION ABOUT DISAPPEARED PUBLISHERS & BOOKSELLERS

Your Excellency Chief Executive Leung

We, the undersigned free expression advocacy, publishing, and bookselling organizations, write to express our deep concern over the forced disappearances and detentions of four Hong Kong residents and a Chinese-born Swedish national associated with the Mighty Current publishing house. We urge your government to do everything in its power to investigate these cases and demand the release of Cheung Chi-ping, Gui Minhai, Lam Wing-kee, Lee Bo, and Lui Por, who are confirmed to be detained by mainland Chinese police.

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STATEMENT OF CONCERN ABOUT DISAPPEARANCE OF HONG KONG BOOKSELLERS

The American Booksellers Association (ABA), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Authors Guild (AG), the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), and PEN American Center (PEN) wish to express their extreme concern over news reports about the disappearance of five employees of a Hong Kong publishing company, Mighty Current, and its bookstore, the Causeway Bay Bookstore.  According to these reports, four of the employees disappeared in October, including the bookstore manager.  A fifth employee, Lee Bo, was reported missing last week.  Mighty Current is well-known for publishing books critical of the Chinese leadership.  Mighty Current books are sold by the thousands at the Hong Kong airport and other locations, including the company bookstore in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay neighborhood.  They are particularly popular with tourists from mainland China, where the books are banned.Read more

CREATIVITY WORKS! STATEMENT ON COPYRIGHT COMMUNICATION

Listening to Europe’s Creative & Cultural Sectors

Today the European Commission has published its Communication on the future of the European copyright framework. We are digital sectors at heart, and hope the Communication marks the start of an informed, constructive dialogue about how copyright should continue to enable the creative and cultural sectors to thrive in Europe – to the benefit of rights holders, audiences and users alike.

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EUROPEAN AND INTERNATIONAL BOOKSELLERS EXPRESS THEIR SOLIDARITY TO PARISIAN COLLEAGUES AND POPULATION

EIBF wish to express its solidarity to Parisian colleagues and the French population. Say co-Presidents Kyra Dreher and Fabian Paagman: “ Our thoughts are with all of the Parisians and French people. Booksellers over the world have been horrified by the Paris events and wish to express their absolute solidarity with the French population.”

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TTIP Negotiations Will Not Include Fixed Book Prices: Börsenverein Welcomes Official Confirmation from EU Commission

The EU Commission will by no means discuss fixed book prices as part of negotiations relating to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), even if US negotiators bring up the matter themselves. Following the suggestion of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers and Booksellers Association), EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has now clarified this position in a written reply. According to Malmström, national book price-fixing systems – such as Germany’s Buchpreisbindungsgesetz (Fixed Book Price Law), which applies to both printed and electronic books – will in no way be affected by the planned TTIP trade agreement. This means, for example, that even US-American eBook platforms will be legally obliged to adhere to retail prices determined by German publishers when selling German-language eBooks to customers based in Germany. It also means that any non-compliance with this obligation can be prohibited in an effective manner.

As Börsenverein Managing Director Alexander Skipis noted, “For German and European book markets, the official confirmation from the EU Commission that fixed book prices will form no part of TTIP negotiations is a tremendous step forward. It means that we were successful in enforcing our central concern with regard to the ongoing trade-agreement negotiations. Our thanks go out to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström as well as to Germany’s Minister of Economics Sigmar Gabriel and Monika Grütters, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, all of whom supported the book industry on this point. The Börsenverein will continue to follow the further course of negotiations with great interest.”

Book price fixing in Germany has been regulated by law since 2002. This law acts as a guarantor of quality and diversity on the book market. Germany has the world’s second largest book market and – with its delicate book-trade structures and multifaceted publishing landscape – profits considerably from this law. Fixed book prices also result in the average price of books being clearly lower than in countries without such regulations.