Monday, February 2, 2009

Territorial copyrights/parallel imports

You have commented briefly and provided a link on the topic of Parallel Imports and why they worry the Australian publishing and associated industries. I was wondering whether you could provide any further information about it, and contextualise Bob Carr’s recent essay in the Weekend Australian Review? From my very vague recollection, he was supporting the idea because it would provide Australians with access to cheaper books which is important for literacy in society, and also, because New Zealand was doing well with parallel importation. At the time, I didn’t take much notice of the article because I didn’t know anything about the issue’s significance and frankly, I don’t have a lot of time for Bob Carr.

As an adult fiction writer with something just about ready to start sending out, the thought of narrowing the chances for new and existing Australian authors worries me, but also because it would be dreadful if Australians weren’t able to read about Australians (written by Australians) again. The film industry has been devastated by the sheer volume of overseas content permitted on our television services and movies. What can we, as individuals, do to protest/object/resist before it’s too late? Or is it already too late? (I already support Australian writing by buying it).

I'm sorry I didn't answer this question in a more timely fashion - the dread Reading Pile again - because I could have pointed you to the submission guidelines for the Productivity Commission. Encouragingly, though, many people - including me - wrote submissions setting out the case against changes to the legislation and you can read those here: I could attempt my own explanation of the issues, but then you'd probably be able to pick which submission is mine and there goes the whole Secret Agent thing.

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