Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rushdie May Speak Through Video Conferencing

Back and forth went the allegations and accusations. Suspense was rife at Jaipur Literary Festival and elsewhere in the country. We waited with bated breath to see if Rushdie will speak through video conferencing. At last, according to a tweet by Forbes India magazine it appears that he will. Meanwhile, critic Nilanjana Roy's petition to un-ban (whatever that means) Satanic Verses garnered 1000 signatures in no time.

Meanwhile authors Amitava Kumar and Hari Kunzru left the country fearing arrest and detention. Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi remain in the country and Jeet is nonplussed. His novel Narcopolis (about which I had written here on my blog) is a lyrical novel on the lines of Satanic Verse and he maintains that no copyright has been infringed or law broken. The authors only read from a printed page not a book, and in case of a ban, only the import of the book is banned. The organisers stated in their press release:

Our endeavor has always been to provide a platform to foster an exchange of ideas and the love of literature, strictly within the four corners of the law. We remain committed to this objective.

Apparently, the issue of the ban comes under the Ministry of Finance as it is in charge of Customs and Excise. What the ministry did was to ban the import of the book in any form. So when copies were obtained from the Internet and read at the festival it amounted to infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and if Rushdie as the owner of the property condones this infringement, then, in actuality, there's no breach of any kind. Correct?

I may be wrong, after all, I don't know. But this is my two penny worth to the ongoing imbroglio.

I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here.

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