This week marks the release of the Productivity Commission’s review of Territorial Copyright laws for Australian authors.
Musicians already know what’s ahead for the book publishing industry if Territorial Copyright law is abolished or watered down by the Productivity Commission and the Australian government. Musicians copped the ramifications over 10 years ago.
Now Aussie musicians are joining authors in speaking out against the current push to abolish or water down authors’ territorial copyrights.
As you’re aware, this push is led by the mega-retail cartel of Woolworths, Coles and Dymocks, and their ‘snake-oil salesmen’, Allan Fels, Bob Carr, Don Grover and an occasional right-wing commentator. These ‘free-market’ backroom boys – those mouths behind this attempt to emasculate the writing industry by lifting the restrictions against the Parallel Importation of books have many friends in the upper echelons of power.
In an article in The Age, Mark Seymour from the iconic Aussie band, Hunters and Collectors ripped into them. He tells of how the same thing happened to the Australian music industry in 1991, against the protestations of musicians like himself and Peter Garrett (of Midnight Oil fame and now Minister in the Rudd Labor Government), composers and all those involved in the industry.
But it still got pushed through the Howard government, added and abetted by the Prices Surveillance Authority and their head, Allan Fels. Yes, the same Allan Fels pushing for the abolition of territorial copyright for authors today.
You may have seen recent comments from Bob Carr and Allan Fels that CDs are cheaper now than ever before. But, like the deceit they spread now of wanting cheaper books for Australians so it was for the music industry.
As Mark Seymour says … The reality is that the Australian music industry is in deep trouble. It has halved in size in the past five to seven years and the fall in the price of CDs is directly attributable to a spectacular decline in demand as a result of digital downloading and copying — it has nothing to do with the removal of import regulations.
It’s too late to plead with the Productivity Commission to see sense in this issue – but it’s not too late to appeal to every Federal politician in this country if the decision goes against authors.
Our vibrant, thriving book publishing industry is at risk – an industry supplying many thousands of jobs for authors, illustrators to printers, agents, distributors, publishers and booksellers.
To quote Mark Seymour again … as was the case for the music industry, these big retail chains are the only sector who stand to gain anything from reform. What appears to be an altruistic championing of the rights of the consumer is in fact nothing more than a repeat of the grasping self-interest on display in 1991.
Read Mark Seymour’s article and send it on.