Thursday, March 26, 2009

Territorial copyright - a little more commentary

The key for me in the territorial copyright debate that is before the Productivity Commission at the moment is not that we defend the right of publishers to publish foreign editions here, though that's a natural corollary of a defence of territorial copyright. The key is a defence of the copyrights of Australian authors (and publishers). 

We should be worried about the rights and the income of the Carole Wilkinsons, the Morris Gleitzmans, the Terry Dentons and the Tim Wintons, worried about the significant risk of foreign editions of their works being brought back into this country and sold off cheaply, circumstances where they receive a reduced or no royalty. 

Authors, even famous and successful ones, earn little enough as it is, without their incomes being eroded to possibly and only possibly exert a vague "downward pressure" on prices. An open market or near open market will be a disincentive for Australian authors to write - fewer books will be written, fewer people will succeed as Australian authors, and fewer Australian books will be published by Australian publishers. 

The better author's incomes are the better the quality of work they produce - because of the time they will be able to devote to it. 

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