Australian Stories Threatened

KatApel_KoalaPostcardIt seems like it wasn’t that long ago, we were fighting to protect Australian stories, and our vibrant Australian publishing industry… and yet here we are again! The Australian Government is again looking to remove Parallal Import Restrictions on books, ripping the heart out of the Australian publishing industry.

Existing copyright terms are for life, plus 70 years. The proposed copyright changes would offer just 15 years of copyright. Not only is that ludicrous, but it is criminal. As Hachette children’s editor Suzanne O’Sullivan succinctly portrayed on twitter;

It isn’t fair! It is ludicrously stupid and shamefully disrespectful. It’s theft! And it is just one aspect of the changes proposed.

The Australian Society of Authors has a clear and concise article talking about the proposals – and the impacts it will have on Australia creators and readers. There is also a petition opposing Scott Morrison’s proposed changes. I would encourage you all to click across, read and sign.

https://www.change.org/p/scott-morrison-save-australian-literature-stop-parallel-importation-of-books

Australia is but a small publishing pool, by comparison to England and America. These changes will have massive ramifications on the viability of our industry – and the livelihood of our publishers… and our creators. It is no wonder that Richard Flanagan gave such an impassioned speech at the Australian Book Industry Awards in Sydney last week.

These are OUR STORIES that are threatened!

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4 comments

  1. You need better copyright than that. It’s theft otherwise. They need to know how long it takes to develop stories. Some of us start dreaming them when we’re children. We need on average 17 years of education to write well enough to begin setting them down. A first draft of a novel can take a couple years. Editing can take several more. Then years of querying follow. That’s already 25 years of investment by the author. Years of waiting for the book to be published. Years before the book takes hold, if it gets discovered, and starts to make money beyond its advance. Royalties may escalate, only rising after a few years have passed and all the publisher costs have been repaid. 15 years of income might yank away the R&D money needed for developing future books. How are authors supposed to feed and clothe ourselves much less our kids?

    Does Australia only award a patent for 15 years? Do they seize businesses older than 15 years? Do they forcibly retire politicians after 15 years? From who else do they take income for work produced?

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      • Sorry, the lawyer side of me rises up every so often, pen wielded as a sword. You are quite right that it’s not my battle. Yet words matter, and maybe mine can help in some small way. People try to slice away copyright here, too, sometimes. I hope you win. XOXO

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      • Oh – I wasn’t at all meaning to infer that it wasn’t your battle. In fact, I’d not long finished and posted my submission to the productivity commission, and was wishing I’d had your words to quote (with permission of course) when I’d been writing that! 🙂 I too hope we win. We stand to lose too much, otherwise! xx

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