April 23 marks the anniversary of the birth or death of a range of well-known writers, including Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Maurice Druon, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Haldor Kiljan Laxness, Manuel Mejía Vallejo, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and William Shakespeare. For this reason, UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, chose this date as the World Book and Copyright Day to pay tribute to books, the authors who write them, and the copyright laws that protect them. The Day is celebrated by a growing number of partners and since its launch has shown itself to be a great opportunity for reflection and information on a significant theme.
The Day is observed by millions of people in over 100 countries, in hundreds of voluntary organisations, schools, public bodies, professional groups and private businesses. In this lengthy period, World Book and Copyright Day has won over a considerable number of people from every continent and all cultural backgrounds to the cause of books and copyright. It has enabled them to discover, make the most of and explore in greater depth a multitude of aspects of the publishing world.
Since 2000, World Book and Copyright Day has inspired another initiative of professional organisations which receives the assistance of UNESCO and backing from States: “World Book Capital City”. Each year a city is chosen which undertakes to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day's celebrations until 23 April of the following year. The World Book Capital for 2019 is the city of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Sharjah was selected because of the very innovative, comprehensive and inclusive nature of the application, with a community-focused activity programme containing creative proposals to engage the very large migrant population. With the slogan “Read - you are in Sharjah”, the programme focuses on six themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children. Among other things there will be a conference on freedom of speech, a contest for young poets, workshops for creating Braille books and tactile books as well as many events for Sharjah's multi-ethnic population. The city's objective is to foster a culture of reading in the United Arab Emirates and birth new initiatives to meet the challenge of literary creation in the area and in the rest of the Arab world.
This year, World Book and Copyright Day will celebrate literature and reading while focusing particularly on the importance of enhancing and protecting Indigenous languages. As a vector of knowledge, books bring people together around a story and a common heritage while revealing their specificities through different cultures, identities and languages.
To celebrate the Day, Bangladesh Copyright Office is today organising a day-long seminar titled “Copyright Law in the Contemporary World: Development of Broadcast and Digital Platform” at the National Library Building Auditorium.