Okay, I'll say it now. This is a long post.
Copyright is a bugbear of mine. Many friends have heard my stance on pirate tv/movie/book download sites. And yes, I waited months for Doctor Who and didn't download it illegally (If I was a GOT fan, I would wait also - or pay for Foxtel to view it legally). I also refuse pirated copies of eagerly awaited movies. Illegal downloads only serve to line the pockets of pirating companies and take jobs away from the actual creators.
This popped up on my feed today: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/productivity-commission-calls-for-free-import-of-books-copyright-shakeup-20160428-goh806.html
On the face of it, the new (reduced) copyright proposals may look like a good deal (for consumers).
However it is only the corporations who will win in the end. Free content for them to earn more money (the reason why I will not write for Huffington post).
It's not just writers, artists and creators who will suffer. Think about it: If your favourite tv show can't earn it's keep, it will be axed. It's happened overseas. It's happened here.
Imagine if all the work you've done in your job was wiped off your record. Long service leave? What experience? Degree? Your hard work doesn't count after five/ten years. It may save the company money but it robs you of income.
What if someone copies your older work and uses it to get that promotion? Fair use? Of course not.
Extreme examples maybe, but this proposal means this to me, to other writers, to creators.
Put yourself in our place. It can take years to write, draw, create. You put your soul into it. It is your career, your job. It is what pays your bills.
Then you are robbed of your income, your livelihood five, ten, fifteen years after it is published. This could apply to any intellectual property such as computer progams.
Good news for Australians? Not really.
Overseas copyright still exists for 50-70 years after the author's death. Why should Australians be disadvantaged? Our work would be available to to anyone who wants to make money from our hard work - like Google (they've paved the way in a recent court case http://theconversation.com/how-to-protect-authors-after-google-books-wins-its-fair-use-case-again-49363 and are poised to make more money of authors).
The video in the original link claims the commercial life of a song or book is about five years. This is old data. With ebooks and long-term online libraries, books can be bought and sold after 5 years - until it is removed from online sale. The writer can earn money on their books until then.
Creators need copyright protection.
Many writers already choose to produce some works as free ebooks or share online - for their readers, for the public. That is THEIR choice. Take away their copyright protection and these (already free to the public) works are able to be snafu-ed by corporations who can then make money on sharing the same free books online. Take away that choice and how many writers will reconsider their decision?
I do agree with changes with regards to ORPHAN works - where the author has died, dependents can't be found or works were never published. This won't effect the author's livelihood. But using the same watered down copyright laws to cover living authors is effectively stealing from them. (There's that word again.) At least wait until their dead, please!
How many artists, creators will stop creating if they can't earn (and keep earning). Quality will fall. In the end readers and viewers will be suffer.
This decision has the potential to cost Australians their job and cost the tax payer more in the long term.
The full draft can be found here: http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/intellectual-property/draft
Please support your local creators so they can continue to create for you.
Have your say here: http://www.pc.gov.au/feedback/publication-feedback
Comments for the proposal close on 3rd June.