The Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago, an affiliate of the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, in conjunction with the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO, join the rest of the world in commemorating World Book and Copyright Day under the theme “READ…so you never feel alone”. April 23rd was designated by UNESCO as World Book and Copyright Day and is observed annually worldwide. With education and by implication literacy being one of the five key pillars of UNESCO’s work, this day provides a special occasion to promote the love and enjoyment of books and reading as well highlights the importance of publishing and the protection of intellectual property through copyright.
This year’s observance holds special significance for the Intellectual Property Office of Trinidad and Tobago due to the passage of the Copyright Amendment Act 2020, which gives effect to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Publish Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired or otherwise Print Disabled. This landmark international treaty will be vital in expanding the reading population and making reading all inclusive, through expanding the availability of print materials, in accessible formats, for the print disabled.
“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” ― A.C. Grayling. As societies across the globe do their best to cope in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, reading has become even more vital to us as we can use the power of books to combat isolation, to inspire our creativity and to stimulate innovation and keep us mentally sharp during this period.
Considering that access to a quality education is recognized as a foundational Sustainable Development Goal, increased accessibility to published works by persons with visual impairment opens the door to their full participation in the productive and creative endeavours of the society and brings Trinidad and Tobago and the international community closer to realization of the principle “no-one left behind.”
As a country with a strong educational and internationally recognized literary/creative tradition, our national capacity for writing and publishing will be on full display from 23rd to 25th April, 2021 during the NGC Bocas Lit fest, now established as an important event in the nation’s creative and literary calendar.
The Intellectual Property Office and the National Commission for UNESCO jointly pay homage to all our local authors and publishers for their enduring work and extraordinary passion to encourage reading, creativity and innovation and to raise awareness of the necessity for all members of the national community, individual and institutional, to recognize and uphold the legal (and commercial) rights implicit in copyright.