Ana Maria Cabanellas, Herman Spruijt and Dick Ruddick, Montreal, 2006

In this third extract of his forthcoming book 'The Fifth Quarter Century - The International Publishers Association 1996-2021', IPA Past President looks back at the period 2004-2008.

2004 - For the first time ever, the IPA had had two vice-presidents coming from the developing world: Argentina, represented by Ana María Cabanellas, and India, represented by Asoke Ghosh. For the first time in its history, the IPA would be led by someone from outside Europe and the US.

A meeting of the International Committee was held with its most important agenda item being the election of the new IPA president. There had been a lot of discussion in the hallways. Both candidates had the experience necessary to become an excellent president. But it could only be one of them.

The results came in: Ana María would be president for the next two years and had become the first female president in the 108 years of IPA history. It would only be in 2005 that Germany would elect its first female chancellor, Angela Merkel; and Chile in 2006 elected Michelle Bachelet as president.

There were many women working in the publishing industry, but few in leadership positions. This was slowly shifting, and Ana María’s election was a positive sign in the right direction. In her life, Ana María had never thought that being a woman was different professionally to being a man. It had been part of her education, raised in a home where she and her brother had been treated equally and given the same opportunities and responsibilities. Now she intended to prove that she was perfectly able do this job as well as any man. 

In February 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook. On 23 April 2005, the first ever YouTube video was uploaded.

In Frankfurt, on 19 October 2005, a meeting of the IPA’s Executive Committee included the following topics:

  • The possibilities of closer cooperation between the Publishers Association of China and the IPA;
  • Considering the importance of the freedom to publish since the foundation of the association, the EC agreed to establish a Freedom to Publish Prize (renamed the ‘IPA Prix Voltaire’ in 2016) to honour an individual or organization anywhere in the world that had promoted the freedom to publish, often at the risk of their own personal safety.

To coincide with the closing celebrations of Montréal as World Book Capital for 2005-06, IPA’s member in Quebec, the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) organized the 6th IPA Copyright Conference from 23-25 April.

During the conference, chaired by IPA’s Copyright Committee chair Dick Rudick, several topics were discussed, such as copyright and legislation, educational exceptions, RROs, and new challenges in the digital era.

Later that year, the first IPA Freedom to Publish Prize was awarded by president Cabanellas to Iranian publisher Shalah Lahiji during the opening ceremony of the Göteborg Book Fair on 21 September, 2006.

Born in 1942, Shahla Lahiji became the first woman publisher in Iran, where she had founded her publishing house Roshangaran in 1983. Her publishing activities were severely threatened and disrupted on many occasions: in 2000, she endured several months of imprisonment; in 2005, her publishing house was petrol-bombed by unknown assailants. However, even under these circumstances, Ms Lahiji continued to enthusiastically defend her ideals.

On 6 October 2006, the publishing world received the sad news that Charles Clark had died. Charles David Lawson Clark had been a publisher and copyright authority. His reputation as a champion of the rights of authors and publishers was established during a time of great change in the industry, with the advent of electronic publishing and the Internet. He coined the now famous phrase ‘the answer to the machine is in the machine,’ and he had been general counsel of the International Publishers Copyright Council (IPCC) from 1990 to 1999.

The Charles Clark Memorial Lecture, celebrating Charles’s achievements, would be established in 2008 during the London International Book Fair and would grow to become the fair’s most prominent lecture.

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