AWMonline: no changes to copyright restrictions on parallel importation of books!     If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be a beginner, emerging, or mid-career author. You may have won a competition, or published short stories and articles (and bought a lovely party frock to wear to writer’s events with the proceeds, as one wonderful QWC member did!). You may be writing purely for the love of it. Then again, as John Burmingham says, ‘Writing for love is nice, but getting paid is even sweeter.’ Like me, you may be harbouring hopes that one day, somewhere, someone will actually read your efforts.

And that brings us again to the topic of copyright restrictions on the parallel importation of books. I know, I know, I do go on about it. Do you know why? It’s not just because I’m a closet policy-wonk. It’s because I care about the Australian writing and publishing industry.

As an avid reader, I want to be able to read books written by people in my own country, my home town, my suburb. I want to read about colours and organisers and bums – not colors and organizers and butts!

As an emerging writer, I want to live in a country where there is a diverse and lively literary scene, with publishers and agents and booksellers and festivals and competitions galore. And that takes moolah. I’m not talking evil, materialistic cold cash, I’m talking about the sweet, sweet smell of success, whereby worthy folk sustain themselves in practising their craft. Is it just me, or is it really blindingly obvious that opening up the local market to books off-loaded by foreign publishing houses will reduce the income of Australian publishers, while providing no clear advantage to Australian readers, and starving Australian authors? Sheesh!

So, are you now as incensed as I am about the issue? Time to channel your energy into action! Read this article by Henry Rosenbloom, founder and publisher of Scribe Publications. It’s the best explanation and debunking of the issue around. Share it with your friends. Here’s a taste:

All of these consequences would follow from the imposition of Bob Carr’s simplistic solution in search of a problem. Dymocks, the company on whose board he sits, would be free to import whatever titles it wanted to, whenever it wanted to. Everybody else would be free to wander a blasted heath.

And then, at the very least, click here and tell the Australian Productivity Commission what you need as an Australian writer and reader. ‘What’s the deadline on that again?’ I hear you ask. Roll up, roll up, folks, it’s the 20 January 2009. So get cracking while you’re popping your Christmas crackers, register your interest online, and make your intial submission.

Agree, disagree, anything to add ? Leave your comments, and Speakeasy on parallel importation!

3 Responses to “"Import and Be Damned!"”

  1. Bernard J Rossi,

    I agree entirely and will be voicing my thoughts to the APC when I have finished this reply. This is my second response to this issue in the last 15 minutes so it is getting good airing across the board (I hope). We cannot remain silent and let this destruction of our industry and our hopes and dreams happen around us.

    Parallel importation is a disaster and I know there are a huge number of authors out there in Australia. We need to let the Government see our numbers and the loss of votes they will incur should this go ahead, it may be the only way to get their ear.

    Bernard J Rossi
    Author & Poet

  2. parallel importation « Vampires in the Sunshine State,

    […] Best I can figure, the Australian Government is considering a change to our copyright laws that currently offer a degree of protection ot the domestic publishing industry by requiring local content to be published here. A more accurate appraisal of the issue can be accessed through this Queensland Writers Centre blogpost. […]

  3. admin,

    Hi Bernard,
    Yes, the campaign against changing copyright restrictions on parallel importation is certainly gaining momentum. Fingers crossed it is successful in preventing changes that would undermine the Australian literary scene.

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