Posts Tagged ‘Parallel importation of books’

Bunheang Ung PIR cartoon

Bunheang Ung PIR cartoon

We’re working to a deadline here folks… 1st September for PETITIONS to save Aussie books from threatened changes to existing copyright laws.

Please click HERE for the petition requiring written signatures, print it out, get everyone (and their dog) who loves Aussie books to sign and RETURN TO: Saving Aussie Books, c/- P.O. Box 236, ROMSEY 3434 Victoria.

And thanks 🙂 [PS For more background on this issue, click here]

Dymocks must be reeling from the backlash to its mass email to book lovers urging members to sign a petition to remove current copyright protections on Australian books.

Seems this large franchisee business didn’t know that many of its ‘book lovers’ are members of the writing and publishing community, and are united in their opposition to such a move.

The interwebs have been sizzling since the email came out Wednesday and facebook is on fire, with book lovers firing off salvoes against the petition. If you’ve somehow missed the kerfuffle, have a squiz at the newly-posted fb event ‘Protest against parallel imports of books’ or read all about it at Queensland children’s authors to protest outside Dymocks’ door.

For a summary of the issues surrounding the current stoush, check out the excellent ‘Australians for Australian books’ site at http://www.ausbooks.com.au or the Australian Society of Authors information at http://tinyurl.com/62bptd.

Crikey has also some thoughts on the subject at http://tinyurl.com/d5govg.

I personally liked  ‘The ten reasons I won’t be signing your petition’ at Book Thingo and Sean Williams’ sound advice on getting the message across by hitting back where it hurts.

For anyone interested in entering the debate, Dee White has published her own submission to the Productivity Commission which provides a comprehensive commentary on the relevant issues.

Here’s how to make a submission to the books inquiry. You have until 17 April to have a final say on the issue, so get writing!

Brisbane children’s authors have spat the dummy over proposed changes to copyright laws and are taking their protests to the streets after Easter.

The last straw for the writing community was a mass email sent out to “book lovers” by major franchise business Dymocks, urging people to sign a petition asking for current copyright protections to be removed.

The petition flies in the face of strong opposition by the Australian writing community to any changes to current copyright protections.

Queensland children’s author Sheryl Gwyther was incensed by the email’s promises of cheaper books, saying it peddles half-truths to an unsuspecting public. You can follow her contribution to the debate at S.O.S. – Australian authors in peril.

Sheryl is organising a protest in the heart of Brisbane at 10.30 am next Thursday 16 April.  It will include a stellar list of award-winning children’s authors including Michael Gerard Bauer, May Gibbs Childrens Literature Fellow Janeen Brian, and James Maloney.

If you are in Brisbane city next Thursday morning, go and support your local children’s authors in their protest.

The Productivity Commission has admitted that removing copyright protections can not guarantee cheaper books. It could however decimate our currently thriving Australian writing and publishing industry.

The spectre of Aussie literary blokes being transformed into all-American guys looms large on the Australian literary horizon.  Taps will become faucets; nappies, diapers; and even our dear old Mums will have to answer to Mom if the Productivity Commission isn’t made to see reason.

Its review of copyright restrictions on the parallel importation of books could make overseas versions of popular Australian books the only version we are able to purchase here.

Removing existing copyright protections guaranteeing that books must be published here within 30 days of their overseas release, would open the floodgates to overseas versions of Australian books, swamping a local industry that is already struggling with low profit margins and worsening economic conditions.

Readers, writers and the local publishing industry would all suffer.

Gone are the days when writers being published overseas merely had to contend with Americanization of our spelling.

High profile authors such as Nick Earls and Emily Rodda have gone public with their experiences of American publishers wanting to change everything from setting (the Brisbane suburb of Indooroopilly being deemed unacceptable for an American audience) to vernacular (Aussie kids asking “Mom” for “cookies”) to omitting scenes (because they don’t “get” our humour).

As Nick Earls told the Productivity Commission: “..it’s important to us as a nation that we keep reading, seeing and hearing our own stories. Children need to grow up with access to Australian stories — stories that speak of places they know, in a language they know, and that validate the world they live in.”

Yet when I checked the Productivity Commission’s website today, only eighteen people have cared enough to comment. Yay for the likes of Kim Wilkins, Nick Earls, Sean Williams and Pamela Freeman. Boo hiss for the rest of us. Time to get our finger out [or you’ll be substituting an Americanism here].

I would love to see my own novel Dust, published overseas. Yes, I would struggle with any changes to the Australian vernacular that is so much a part of the voice, but I would accept that some changes are needed in order to be understood by an overseas readership.

However I could not accept that an internationalized version of my book could be the only one available to readers in my own country, in my own culture, in my own backyard. And I’m going tell that to the Productivity Commission before submissions close on 20 January.