Australian Copyrights Protection

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Answers from a Publisher

Answers from Elena Ornig


Answering your questions

The real number of the authors in Australia can be only estimated approximately. So far, the figure is between 5,000 -10,000 authors that are considered to be fully employed or employed as a part-time. However, the authors now becoming the publishers by adding numbers of the authors quite significantly. Go figure it out!

Internet puts everything in different perspective for the publishing industry as a whole. Regardless to many changes, every country is trying to ‘save’ their publishing industry against the unavoidable globalization and legal reformation of publishing industry, internationally. Australia takes these changes seriously, in order to protect its own publishing industry by shielding it from foreign competition, respectively through import restrictions.

Basically we are talking about availability, price and quality matter of the books. . In order to protect copyright beyond the borders, Australia had signed two international agreements: 1886 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works and the 1994 World Trade Organisation agreements on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This was copied directly from Australian Productivity Commission Research Report (June 2009).

Nevertheless, the actual Australian market is quite big ( around $2.5 billion) and an opportunity to be published, distributed and sold in Australia still strongly attractive for the foreign authors as well as for the local authors.

The biggest consideration for publishing industry is the Copyright Law, its guides and regulations. Every publisher and author must be aware and brief themselves before making choice- when and where to publish their books with clear understanding of distribution, marketing, selling and royalty payments ‘mechanisms’.

In Australia, copyrights are the basis for the trade and protect publishers and authors from unauthorized production or reproduction of their work or publication but doesn’t stop parallel import of the books that are singly ordered for the personal use. Praise the Internet for giving any foreign author opportunity to be sold on Australian market through direct orders. This type of import is called direct import, which means for any foreign author free highway to Australia via the Internet.

In Australia, copyright protection is applying automatically to the author of original work and doesn’t need to be registered prior the actual publication but in order to protect author’s original work, publisher will seek exclusive “ reproduction” right in order to publish and sell multiple copies, or publisher well seek “ publication” right in order to make author’s work available for sale.

The Australian  author has to be aware of couple of things- how much money a publisher will offer to the author for such exclusive rights and what specific conditions an author want to place on the publisher in order to produce their book.

However, for an Australian author to be protected by Australian copyright law he or she must follow few guides. First their work has to be original and not copied from any other work. Secondly, the actual work has to be written down. Next, the author must be Australian citizen or holder of permanent residency at the time of writing unpublished manuscript, or the first edition must be published in Australia. If you comply with this guide you are granted 70 years of your copyright protection after your death, as Australian author.

In conclusion, any author has to remember that any publisher is the ‘middle man’ between your intellectual expression of original idea and the potential reader/buyer that is willing to pay for your work. Your right are protected and you should sell them wisely.

My warmest regards,
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Written by Elena Ornig

Managing Director of Publishing Company "Julia Sophistique Pty Ltd". Committee member of Australian Computer Association GC Chapter. Member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Member of the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland. Member of the IT Forum Gold Coast. Sponsor of the Helensvale Writers' Group, Gold Coast. Committee member of the Gold Coast Writers Association Honored VIP Member of STANFORD WHO'S WHO in America. Publisher, writer and blogger.