Guyana could be heading into a legal battle with international publishers

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday, September 17, 2012 – The government of Guyana is making no apologies about the fact that it is buying pirated textbooks for public schools as a cost-saving measure.

Cabinet Secretary Roger Luncheon says officials are buying pirated books from printing firms and companies that photocopy books because of their high quality and lower prices. Luncheon said the government’s move is justified.

However, international pressure is mounting as the Publishers Association has accused the government of violating local and international laws and a London-based company that previously sold textbooks to Guyana is mounting a protest.

In a recently released statement, Emma House, international and trade director of the British-based Publishers Association accused Guyana of acting in direct contravention of local, regional and international laws.

“The Cabinet’s decision in Guyana to procure pirated textbooks for public schools is an indisputably illegal act. This decision is in contravention of Guyanese law, Caribbean law (CARICOM’s revised Treaty of Chaguaramas) and the international Berne Convention,” the statement that posted on its website argued.

The lobbying body comprises of more than 100 top book publishers including Random House Children’s Books and Macmillan Education.

However, local companies have been photocopying books to sell to Guyana’s Education Ministry for more than a decade, and this practice shows no sign of ending.
This has forced the closure over the years of several legitimate bookstores that sold copyrighted volumes at a higher price. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)