If you’re an author, you make your meaning and your living by expressing your ideas into words and creative works.
By law, you automatically retain copyright in those words and works. Without copyright protection, your work and your ability to determine its future are not protected.
Sadly the current Draft of the Australian Copyright Amendment Bill 2021 represents a continuing drift in copyright law towards greater rights to aggregators and lesser rights to creators and publishers. This is completely ass about. If there are to be any changes to copyright legislation, they must be in favor of creators and publishers.
Masking the interests of large-scale aggregators like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. by suggesting the proposed strip-mining of copyright is in the interest of libraries and users is sophistry at best and malicious at worst. It’s a shallow and short-term legal argument that profits the world’s largest accumulators and aggregators of information at the expense of Australian authors and creators. Ultimately it will starve culture to make the world’s richest technology corporations even richer.
In short, it’s a fucking dumb idea. If Australian creators are not protected and rewarded for their creative work by copyright, who will produce the creative work of the future? Who can afford to work for free? Why not make amends to reward creators more fairly?
Here are three quick ideas to help Australia and Australian authors, creators and publishers become more productive and more successful.
1. Boost Australia’s creator economy
According to Macquarie Business School, Australian authors make on average $12,900 a year from their copyrighted work. This is well below the $23,764 annual poverty line. Expecting authors and creators to live and work in extreme poverty is stupid and short-sighted. Laws, especially copyright laws, should be amended to provide best in class protection, value and income for Australian authors and creators. Boosting Australia’s creator economy can make Australia the most culturally powerful nation on earth.
2. Extend copyright in Australia to 140 years
Double existing copyright to 140 years after the year of the Australian creator’s death. This expands the value of a creator’s back catalog and makes more creative work more viable. It also allows for new business models where investors provide upfront payments to creators in exchange for monetisation rights to their back catalogue. Creators can take that advance and use it to scale their work for greater cultural reach. Making copyright more valuable makes copyrighted works more valuable. This would make the work from Australian authors and creators the most valuable on earth.
3. Make Australia a beacon and safe haven for creators
It’s time to put Australian authors and creators front and center as economic drivers. Expanding the protection and value of creative work improves learning and health, increases tolerance, brings society together. It improves the wellbeing of individuals and communities. By lifting the importance of culture, authors and creators from around the world will vie to become Australian citizens.
By amending copyright legislation to provide greater - rather than lesser - protection for Australian authors and creators, Australia has the opportunity to lead the world.
Don’t fucking blow it.