Posts Tagged ‘monopolies’

SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS from the economic and political agenda of big business corporations.

July 19, 2009

To all those who care about our home and a culture
of ‘A Fair-go’ and ‘Participatory Democracy’.

SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS from the economic and political agenda of big business corporations. This corporate campaign to do in Australian authors and small independent publishers and bookshops is being ably run and organised by the giant corporations’ quislings.
One vocal example of this species is the ex-ALP Premier of NSW, Bob Carr; he is on the board of Dymocks Books. Despite his many years as a member of the ‘political class’ he thinks crossing the floor means a move to the Macquarie Bank.
Are we prepared to let Coles and K-Mart monopo-lies the economic, political and cultural agendas?
If not find out more and read on …


You will probably have heard by now about the Productivity Commission Report that recommends abolishing Territorial Copyright on books and so allowing the Parallel Importation of books. Many Australians are up in arms about this.

Some of us are developing a short campaign to convince the Federal Government to reject the Commission’s report, and retain restrictions on parallel importation. But we need to let people from all walks of life know about this threat to Australian-published books, both fiction and non-fiction.

We have initiated a new blogsite to help explain our campaign and the issues behind it, and to demonstrate the breadth of opposition amongst authors, publishers, independent booksellers, parents, teachers, librarians, printers and book lovers. The blogsite address is This new website offers information (easy to understand), links, comments and access to practical ways people can contact (and lobby) politicians, letters to the editors – and getting our concerns out to the general community.
We also are developing a petition on the blogsite and/or a petition format to print off and circulated as widely as possible.

The site also has guest bloggers willing to put their names to blog entries, (hopefully not just authors) because there’re many other professions and trades who will be affected by this change of law.

Please pass on to as many people as you can in your circles.

The timing is URGENT as the Federal Government will make its decision in the weeks ahead. Many thanks for your interest and support.

Sheryl Gwyther
An Australian writer’s alert regarding the loss of Australian culture with the threat of Parallel Importation of Books.
Some of you may know of author and teacher Sheryl Gwyther. Lothian Books published her first novel, Secrets of Eromanga in 2006. In 2002 was awarded an Australian Society of Authors’ Mentorship. In 2009 Sheryl and other Australian authors and publishers are fighting for their livelihoods. For Sheryl, ”writing is my life now … and with my visits to classrooms and libraries enthusing kids about the amazing world of Australian dinosaurs and about writing, I’m never bored.” You may or may not have heard but Australian authors and culture is under attack from giant global corporate interests.
On June 30 Sheryl wrote, “The Productivity Commission took their findings to the Australian Parliament on whether Australian authors and illustrators will lost Territorial Copyright. Over the past decade this protection has ensured a phenomenal increase of quality Australian-authored books and the emergence of a battalion of award-winning authors. More significantly is the fact it has given the world an insight into our country through the eyes and words of Australian authors.”
Do you want to see Australian children reading books without Australian content and ‘Americanised’ with Mom instead of Mum or faucets instead of taps, and vacation instead of holiday? It could happen if pressure from some quarters (e.g. Dymocks company’s management and major retail chains of Woolworths, Coles, K Mart, Big W and Target) convinces the Australian Government to relax the current Parallel Importation Restrictions on books. (PIRs)
What is Parallel Importation of Books? Parallel importation would allow Australian booksellers to import books from the US and the UK, irrespective of whether they’re already published in Australia. These two countries prohibit Parallel Importation of books into their countries so why allow it in Australia?
How will it affect Australian book buyers? Removing PIRs will flood the market with inferior imports, drown out Aussie content/language and reduce your choice of books – with no reliable evidence that books will cost you less.
If you want to read Australian books; if you want your kids to see their lives and experiences reflected in the books they read, write to your politicians. Tell them NOT to remove PIRs on books. This is an issue that every good teacher should be concerned about. So I have asked that her open letter be published.
Peter Curtis,
Primary Teacher, AEU.

08/07/2009 An open letter by Sheryl Gwyther

Culture for DUMMIES

Forgive the acerbic tone to this post, but I can’t let Professor Allan Fels’ latest comment go regarding his desire to scrap Territorial Copyright laws for Australian authors.
This is part of what he said last night on ABC TV’s 7:30 Report about our present copyright protection: “There’s also a claim that it’s good for culture, that is, it’s good for culture that Australian book readers should pay more for books. I don’t understand that.”
An open letter to Professor Allan Fels, Bob Carr and all….
Well, let me enlighten you, Professor Fels with my Culture for DUMMIES.
Heinemann’s Australian dictionary says culture means, ‘ a development or improvement of the intellect or behaviour; the distinctive practices and beliefs of a society.’ Well, that’s pretty straightforward, don’t you think, Professor Fels?
Let’s put it in context of Australian children’s picture books and novels. After all, that’s the area that will be directly hit by yours and Bob Carr’s, Dymocks Bookstores, and the discount retailers Woolworths and Coles’s bid to destroy Australian Territorial Copyright on books. If the Parallel Importation Restrictions (PIRs) are abolished or watered-down (as desired by you and your fellow free-marketeers) future Australian books risk losing their Australian content, voices and experiences.
In the world of children’s books – and maybe you have no experience in this area – the risk is even greater. Australian children must grow up having access to books from their own country. Books that hold mirror images of their own experiences not those of children living in Manhattan, Texas or Manchester. Books that echo with Australian voices, multi-cultural and all; stories connecting with our own place in the world.
If PIRs are abolished and Australian authored books are published overseas they WILL BE CHANGED to suit American or British tastes. Then they will be exported back into this country with American spelling, language and terms – gone will be Wagga Wagga, Mum, footpath, rugby union, gum tree, Indooroopilly, possum and a host of other words.
But even worse than losing our own language is the threat to Australian content in books. Aussie children understand Aussie humour – North American and British children don’t quite get it. Okay, I mustn’t generalise, so let’s just say that publishers (the gatekeepers) in the US and the UK don’t ‘get’ Australian humour … just ask popular Australian children’s author, Morris Gleitzman about his experiences. (His texts are Americanized for the North American market)
And what can Australian authors do when a large American publishing firm says we’ll publish your book, but we’ll need to make a few changes. If we refuse the changes we do not get published. We’ve seen this happen already where Australian books are picked up by US publishing firms. Even picture books are not immune – they become bland, superficial facsimiles of their Aussie twins.
So, Professor Fels, please open your eyes and your mind; life isn’t meant to be all about making more money. And don’t try to pull the wool over Aussie eyes – people who want to buy a book in this country are not bound by the price at the bookshop. We all have access to free libraries across this wide land so no child needs to go without a book because of what it costs. (And let me remind you, the Productivity Commission says there’s no guarantee books would be any cheaper if the restrictions are lifted).
I’m just an ordinary Australian children’s writer trying to make a living in my beloved country – following my passion for storytelling set on this land, that uses the language and experiences of its peoples. Like my fellow authors I live with rejections, rewrites and edits on work that might take many years to complete. I don’t complain if I’m lucky to earn 10% of the RRP on a proportion of a few thousand published copies.
I just move on to writing the next one with the thrill of knowing many children read my stories and enjoy them; and the knowledge that I’m part of a noble profession working to ensure our Australian culture in its written form will survive and thrive, long after you’ve become a tiny, full-stop dot in the book of Australian history.

%d bloggers like this: