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Ukrainian authors and writers criticise new state open access initiative -

Ukrainian writers and authors are reportedly on the verge of massive protests, due to a recent initiative of the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) to conduct digitalisation and online publishing of all of the books and documents stored in the national archives and libraries.

According to an official spokesman of Vladimir Groisman, head of Verkhovna Rada, the initiative is very useful as it will provide free access to local population to the Ukrainian national libraries and books.

It is planned that the new state initiative may be approved in the form of amendments to the existing law, which is known as 'On Copyright and Related Rights'.

In the meantime, the new state initiative has already been criticised by some leading Ukrainian authors and writers, who say its approval will result in huge losses to them and copyright infringement.

According to Alexandra Odinetsk, a well-known Ukrainian lawyer for copyright and related rights, online publishing of books without the consent of the author is prohibited by the current Ukrainian legislation and can be contested in the court. The same position is shared by the Ukrainian writers.

In addition to Ukrainian writers and public, it is expected that the initiative will be sharply criticized by the European Union, as it will be seen as not complying with EU legislation in the field of copyright.

Ukraine recently signed an agreement 'About the Association' with the EU. It is a base agreement, but imposes obligations on Ukraine not to approve laws which directly contradict basic EU principles and norms.

Some Ukrainian writers have already announced their plan to submit a petition to the European Commission, asking to take measures for the blocking of the new proposal by the Ukrainian government and the national Parliament.

Meanwhile, according to Alexander Brigints, member of Verkhovna Rada and a well-known Ukrainian writer, the Ukrainian Parliament and the national government are aware of the protests of the writer community, and are considering several options out of the current situation.

The state plans may include the provision of compensation to authors and writers whose books will be subject to online publishing and digitalisation. It is planned that this compensation may be in the form of royalties to authors. Another option may involve publishing of books only on paid online resources.

Finally, the government has not ruled out the possibility of digitalisation of only those books whose copyright has already expired or is not applied. It is planned that a final decision on the new state initiative will be taken by the Ukrainian government in mid-September.

Click here to read the original press release.


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