Get on any number of commentating, opinion blogs, like Crikey.com and the leading newspaper online blogs you’ll find a host of passionate people arguing their corner regarding the proposed lifting of Territorial Copyright on Books.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen such passion lashing back and forward since the days after Princess Di died in that high-speed car crash in France … you remember …
‘MI5 and the Palace organised it!’ ‘No, it was the paparazzi.’ ‘I swear Arab terrorists are involved!’
Blah, blah, blah. I remember thinking, ‘Why the hell didn’t the silly woman put her seatbelt on at that speed!’
But I digress.
Re the current debate on Territorial Copyright in the online media, you don’t just get reasoned debate, you get name-calling, insults, irrational arguments and abuse.
I’ve been following one of these on Crikey.com – poor Shane Maloney copped a serve, as did Mem Fox – both luckily haven’t replied to the abuse. No point trying to argue with unreasonable, narrow-minded, faceless bloggers.
If you get on to Courier Mail online, be prepared to throw your hat into the ring, have your say and run. Red-neck commentators are out in force – but that’s pretty usual up here in my neck of the woods, in fact, it’s fun to throw a ball in the bull-ants’ nest occasionally.
But, of course, the anti-author brigade aren’t just in Queensland, they’re all over the place.
Why is this? Do Australians think we earn so much money on royalties we lounge in our spa baths drinking caffè lattes as we tap out our next bestsellers on our little Netbooks? That we’re spunging off the poor working man and woman? That the impression I’m getting as I tour the opinion pages.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Authors make as little as 6 – 10% a book and that’s only if the book is sold for its Retail Rec Price at a bookseller. If an author’s books are picked up by the school discount market and distributed that way, they could be facing even less royalties. If the book is illustrated, well, guess what? That (possible) 10% is split in half.
I think it’s imperative to let Australians know the facts otherwise they won’t support attempts to save our industry. If you want to do something to help in a practical way go to the new blog site SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS
A side issue: People who are so down on authors (and they feel the same about artists and musicians as well) see no value in Creativity. They see it as a waste of time and of Government funding. Why do you think this is so?