Friday, July 17, 2009

Territorial Copyright and Being Heard

As there is a lot of debate currently happening on the issue of territorial copyright, I thought it might be a good idea to put some useful information together in one place, so that people who want to be heard find it simple to do so. Here, then, are a few steps and bits of information you might find useful

1. Inform yourself. The following websites will be handy in making sure you have a solid working background knowledge of the issue: (For the most part, these arguments are from the perspective of the writing/publishing community. This includes me. I make no apologies for the fact. If you'd like the Dymocks/Big Business side of the argument, I'd suggest you phone Bob Carr...)

2. Get Writing: Write to politicians (on both sides of politics), the media, and anyone else you can think of. A few tips:
  • Use snail mail - Good old fashioned envelopes and stamps. These have an impact and large organisations and political offices find things in hard copy a lot harder to ignore, because they leave a paper trail. One of my university politics lecturers once told me that if you wanted a pothole in your road fixed, you should write to the Queen, as the letter would be stamped by Buck. House and then forwarded to the Australian High Commission in London, who'd stamp it and forward it to the Dept. of Foreign affairs in Canberra, who'd stamp it and forward it to your local council, who'd see all the stamps and freak out.

  • Be Polite. Resist the urge to refer to those involved as a spineless, profit mongering, corporate bootlickers. This will be difficult, but will make you look better in the long run.

  • When writing to Labor Politicians, mention Bob Carr's role in this. He's on the board of Dymocks. He's also not particularly popular in the Labor Party. It won't hurt to remind the current crop of federal pollies about his commercial association with the 'Coalition for cheaper books'

  • Some useful addresses: All members of parliament (Labor, Liberal and Other) will receive mail sent to them at their parliamentary offices via the following address:

  • Parliamentary Address:
    PO Box 6022
    House of Representatives
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600
Or, you can write to their individual electoral offices. (Or CC copies to both...)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
PO Box 476
Morningside Qld 4170

The Hon. Peter Garrett: Minister for the Arts:
PO Box 249
Maroubra NSW 2035

The Hon. Julia Gillard - Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Education:
PO Locked Bag 14
Werribee Vic 3030

The Hon. Lindsay Tanner - Minister for finance and deregulation:
280 King Street
Melbourne Vic 3000

The Hon. Wayne Swan - Treasurer
PO Box 182
Nundah Qld 4012

And don't forget the opposition and minor parties - if there's enough political points in it, they'll also grab the opportunity to keep the pressure on the Govt:

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull - Leader of the Opposition:
PO Box 545
Edgecliff NSW 2027

Senator Bob Brown - Leader of the Greens:
GPO Box 404
Hobart Tas 7001

Additionally - find your local member and write to them, too, urging them to pressure all of the above ministers. You can find member's contact details here (House of Reps) and Here (Senate)

3. Screw Dymocks. Obviously, don't shop there. Goes without saying. Also encourage your friends, family, random strangers in the street to do the same. But also:
  • If you have a Dymocks Booklovers card, then mail it back to them. Again, encourage everyone you know to do the same. The address of the head office is: Dymocks Australia 428 George St, Sydney NSW 2000. Large corporations rely on their 'loyalty' programmes for an enormous amount of direct marketing information. If a large number of 'loyal' customers bail on them, it'll send a message. Be sure to include a short, polite note explaining that, as you won't be requiring the card any longer because of their role in promoting the dismantling of Australia's territoral copyright laws, you wanted to return it.

  • If you are a writer with a website - ensure that any links to are removed from it. Point to an independent bookseller instead. If you can't find one, then go for another retailer which doesn't side with the coalition for cheaper books. (Borders, A&U etc...)
Naturally, the more people who do any or all of these things, the more effective the results. Assuming that the government accepts the commission's recommendation for a three year hiatus until territorial copyright is abolished, this gives us some breathing room. It also means, however, that there's a long period ahead - an entire term of political office, including at least one federal election - for this issue to die and be forgotten until it can be slipped through parliament.

It's up to anyone who cares for the Australian writing and publishing industry not to allow that to happen.


  1. Great blog post Anthony.

    There is so much misinformation in the media that people need to be directed to where they can find out the 'real story'. And we need to act now. I've just posted my second round of letters to the politicians.

  2. Lynne Lumsden GreenJuly 22, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    Thank you for supplying a longer list of letter recipients.



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