Online publication management, how?

Published: 04/03/2009 05:00



The government recently issued Decree 11/2009/ND-CP, which includes an article about publishing and distributing publications on the Internet.

Director of Tre Publishing House, Dr. Quach Thu Nguyet.

Quach Thu Nguyet: Publishing books on the Internet is absolutely unfeasible. I don’t understand thoroughly because I am not completely familiar with Decree 97/2008 on Internet services and information on the Internet but Article 11b of Decree 11/2009/ND-CP says that publishing on the Internet is “the first time a publishing house makes public a whole publication on the Internet”. In that case, it is impossible to manage.

Firstly, on my understanding about this decree, all books that are published online must be approved by publishing houses. What will be the right of writers to publish their works under the Publishing Law? Will they have to ask for publishing houses’ permission to make public their books online? Writers currently have the right to publish their books on their own websites or blogs and publishing houses can’t control it.

Secondly, to publish a book online, publishing houses have to register with the Publishing Agency by submitting a disk of that book. I think publishing houses should only need to send the link to that book to the Publishing Agency, not a disk.

Thirdly, online publication of re-printed books needs the written permission of the authors and publishing houses. How about social networks or free ebook websites? They don’t need publishing houses’ permission.

We don’t directly publish online books for the first time. We only exploit added value of printed books in the form of ebook. I don’t understand how Article 11b will be implemented. In my opinion, it is unfeasible.

Bui Viet Bac: I think it is feasible for online publication because state agencies are responsible for issuing regulations to control possible publishing activities. Any publishing house that wants to publish their books online will have to obey the regulations. I’m only interested in what our publishing house will gain or lose from publishing books on the Internet.

We have thought of online publication but perhaps we will implement it in the next five years, not now. We are considering how to manage online publications, how to grant passwords to readers and how to collect fees from readers. At present, we only publish extracts of books on the Internet to introduce our products to readers.

Some may think that publishing books on the Internet is complicated and unfeasible but I think state agencies need to release such strict regulations.

What difficulties will publishing houses face when they carry out this article?

Quach Thu Nguyet: We will not publish books for the first time on the Internet. We will only provide ebooks to take advantage of added value of our printed products. Or we will advertise part of books that we will print on the Internet to survey the market. We don’t have a need to publish brand new books online. The Youth Publishing House is not an online publishing house.

What do you think about a case such as a partner posting books on websites with .vn domain names without asking for the partner publishing house’s permission?

Quach Thu Nguyet: It is difficult to manage it. Perhaps we need an additional regulation about citizen responsibility for online publication.

Director of the Culture and Information Publishing House Bui Viet Bac.

Bui Viet Bac: No problem, I think. The authors want to advertise their books so they have the right to put their books online by posting them on their blogs or a website. Once they sell their books to a publishing house, the publisher has to tell the writer to remove that book from the Internet.

When your publishing houses buy copyrights of foreign books, do you have the right to publish them online?

Quach Thu Nguyet: Normally, our publishing house signs contracts with foreign partners to print their books for a certain time. If we want to publish the book on the Internet or in the form of ebook, we have to sign an appendix.

Bui Viet Bac: For translated books, we generally write in the contract that we are buying the copyright in Vietnamese. From now on, we will include in our contract we are buying the copyright in Vietnamese on the Internet. A website named saharavn published our translated books and we asked them to remove the books, otherwise the foreign partners would ask us to compensate them or they might think that our publishing house is not serious about business.

Article 11b: publishing and distributing publications on the Internet

1. Publishing on the Internet is the act of publishing houses making public for the first time an entire book or document on the Internet.

The publication must obey Decree 97/2008/ND-CP dated August 28, 2008 about management, provision and use of Internet services and information on the Internet.

2. Online publications must be implemented by publishing houses under the following regulations:

Before the publication, publishing houses have to register their online publication plans with the Publishing Agency. At least ten days before publishing houses publish books on the Internet, they have to submit one file copy in the form of CD-ROM, DVD, VCD, USG, or email (not more than 3MB) to the Publishing Agency. Publishing houses have to publish books on websites with .vn domain names.

3. The online publication of books and documents which have been published and distributed legally in Vietnam must be carried out by publishing houses under the following rules: They must have the permission of authors in writing; before publishing books or documents online, publishing houses have to report in writing to the Publishing House about the name of the book or document, the author, website URL and the day of publishing.

Tuan Hai – Mai Sen

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