Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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ARC funding for project exploring authorship and copyright

Monash University legal academic Rebecca Giblin and a team of researchers have received Australian Research Council funding for the project ‘Reclaiming copyright’s lost value for authors and the public’.

The project will explore how fuller protection of authorship can secure a ‘fairer go for creators’ and unlock new opportunities for publishers, generate new sources of arts funding and improve access for the public.

In a blog post, Giblin hypothesises that ‘if we start taking authors’ interests seriously, we can not only directly and significantly increase their remuneration, but we can enhance authors’ abilities to license their works and to keep their books being read’.

‘Authors are always at the forefront of copyright debates,’ writes Giblin. ‘But if you’re an author yourself … you might have noticed that, for someone who plays such a prominent role in the debate, surprisingly little of the rewards actually trickle down to you. If authors are so central, why does so little of copyright’s rewards actually end up in their pockets?’

Giblin writes that copyright is structured around protecting ownership, not authorship. ‘While authors are generally the first owners of their works, they are often obliged to give up the whole or a substantial share of those rights in their contracts with cultural investors, entered to obtain distribution or audience access.’

The project will include empirical research into current contractual practices in the Australian trade book industry, and the effects of author-protective laws in other countries.

Giblin is approaching authors and agents through the Authors Interest blog.


Category: Local news