The acknowledgement of the Intellectual Property Rights for authors and publishers has been considered since the 18th century an achievement that has enabled social, cultural and technological development and progress. These rights are widely recognised by international treaties and agreements (OMPI, Uruguay Round ).
The social function of the publisher as essential promoter for the development of culture and science was the main issue of the 1996 International Publishers Congress in Barcelona. As cultural agents, publishers have defined their rights and their corresponding enactment with the author's rights. The publisher's right was first defined in 1986 as a guarantee of respect for publishing against piracy and illegal reproduction. The proposed timeframe for these right is 25 years starting from the date it was first issued and is set up in article 129th of the Intellectual Property Law.
The development of the digital and electronic technique brings about new challenges for the protection of the author's rights: whether it should be an specific right or a connected right is a debate, which, with independence of the particular conclusions strengthens the publishers right in a broader sense that can be summarised in three requests: exclusive copyright, exclusive communication right and exclusive control access to the information or to the published work.
This publisher's right reflects the exclusive licence given by the author to publish the work that is the subject matter of the contract - thereby protecting the publisher against parallel imports from third parties - and recognises the creative function of the publisher.
From this Federation we keep a close eye on every meeting, study and regulation discussed and issued by the European Commission related with the legal aspects of the e-commerce, the legal deposit in e-publications and the author's and publisher's rights in the digital environment. We inform duly of all these matters to the Spanish publishers and we remain attentive to any changes and up-dates in the rules governing the author right.
Two directives issued by the European Union - the one harmonising the duration of the author's right and the one on protection of data bases - provide elements that favour a broader and up-dated author's right; both these directives apply to the publisher's right the condition of a specific right and recommend the internationalisation of the publisher's right. In these past years, we have kept track of the development of the Directive 2001/29/CE of the European Parliament and the Council regarding the harmonisation of particular aspects of the author's right and similar rights in the information society. This directive was finally passed the 22nd May 2001.
Regarding the current Intellectual Property Law, the Federation believes it is necessary to include in it explicitly the publisher's rights in multimedia works as author - much in the same way as with collective works - and a reform that includes in the Spanish law the new international regulations.
The Spanish Centre for Reprographic Rights (CEDRO) is the institution responsible for the collective management of the author's and publisher's rights. The Federación de Gremios de Editores de España collaborates closely with CEDRO to promote and protect these rights, and this co-operation has become an essential tool in the fight against illegal reproduction and piracy.
Illegal commercial copyright of works protected by the Intellectual Property Law and publishing piracy are two of the main focus of this Federación since they have an strong impact on publishing activity and the creative work of authors.
Therefore, one of the main objectives of this Federación is to develop a continuous policy of information for general public and professionals on what author's rights are and on how important is to protect them in order to guarantee the safety diffusion of the cultural activity.
Within the various fields of co-operation between the F.G.E.E. and CEDRO, it is especially important the joint action undertaken to spread the author's right to Latin American countries and the entities representing their publishers with the aim of creating their own institution to manage their collective rights as a key element to fight against illegal reproduction and publishing piracy.