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PA: £2.2b book revenue ‘at risk’ in copyright consultation

In the UK, Publishing Perspectives has reported new research from the Publishers Association (PA) showing that a total of 64% of its member publishers’ revenue is estimated to be ‘at risk’ if proposed changes to UK copyright laws go ahead.

The PA surveyed its member publishers on the issue in July, reporting that 64% of their revenue represents a total of £2.2 billion (A$4.15b) at risk in the consultation. The research suggests that up to £506 million ($A954.70m) per year of author and illustrator income would also be at risk.

The PA is a co-organiser of the Save Our Books campaign, which was established in June this year in response to news the Boris Johnson government was ‘reconsidering the United Kingdom’s approach to copyright and trade following Brexit’.

The Intellectual Property Office is currently consulting on a change to the UK’s ‘international exhaustion’ regime, which the PA says would ‘spell disaster for the UK’s publishing industry’ if introduced because ‘authors will be unable to limit foreign editions of their books being sold into the UK—undercutting their domestic sales’.

‘These figures are deeply alarming,’ says PA CEO Stephen Lotinga. ‘If the government decides to change our copyright laws, then it could be devastating for the UK’s book industry.’ According to the PA, ‘many small- and medium-sized businesses would be unlikely to survive’ and ‘widespread job losses would be inevitable’ should the UK government’s reconsideration of copyright and trade laws go through.

Earlier this month an open letter protesting the changes was signed by over 2600 UK authors and illustrators, including Hilary Mantel, who today released a statement with the PA urging ‘those involved in the consultation to move with great caution and listen to the advice of those who care not just about their own future but about the future of all our writers and readers’.

Publishing Perspectives reports that ‘international exhaustion’ is one of four options being looked at by the consultation. ‘A part of the alleged attraction of that option, apparently, is that consumer prices might be lower, although Publishing Perspectives understands that the government hasn’t modelled this in any viable detail … The parties most able to take advantage of the “international exhaustion” regime, it’s believed, would be such digital retailers as Amazon.’

The UK government’s post-Brexit copyright regime consultation period is scheduled to close on Tuesday, 31 August.


Category: International news