[This is a modified version of an update provided to a meeting of the Book Industry Collaborative Council at the end of 2012.]
Copyright in the book industry has been identified as one of the seven key areas for industry reform by the BIIC. The BICC set up the Copyright Expert Reference Group (ERG) to examine copyright issues in depth.
Copyright serves to encourage content creation and reward creators and other rights owners, and it is a crucial component of any thriving content industry. However, an effective market must meet the needs of all participants and the rights of content owners must be balanced with the rights of content users. This includes consumers who purchase books and the rights of the wider community to access new ideas and information.
Copyright regulations play a vital role in striking equilibrium between the competing interests of rights owners and users. However, with the advent of new technologies, copyright material has become easier to share within a community and copyright content is often being re-used to create new works. The traditional lines between creation and use are becoming blurred and, through the internet, the concept of community has expanded to connect unrelated individuals from across the globe. This rapid change has opened up many opportunities and risks for rights holders and users.
The Copyright ERG is working towards delivering an issues paper that considers how copyright for books can be effectively addressed in the digital world. Australian copyright regulation is currently being reviewed by the Australian Law Reform Commission and many book industry stakeholders are directly contributing to this debate. To complement this activity, the work of the ERG will primarily focus on identifying non‑regulatory solutions.
The Copyright Expert Reference Group is chaired by Nic Pullen and its membership represents the interests and views of a cross-section of stakeholders, ensuring a diversity of views.