Writers urged to defend copyright

30 May, 2016

Australia’s stage and screen writers are being urged to defend their livelihoods, currently being threatened by proposed changes to copyright laws.The AWG believes that draft recommendations by the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission to cut copyright protection in Australia would have a devastating impact on performance writers and other authors.The AWG is urging its members to make submissions to the Productivity Commission before 3 June and where possible attend one of the public hearings in Brisbane (20 June), Sydney (21 June), Canberra (22 June) and Melbourne (23-24 June). The Productivity Commission says there is scope for parties in other States and Territories to appear before the Melbourne hearings via teleconference.The AWG made a detailed submission at the start of the inquiry and will be submitting a response to the Productivity Commissions’ draft recommendations before the 3 June deadline.The AWG believes the suggestions and recommendations – that include slashing the length of time copyright protects an author’s work from 70 years after death to as little as 15 years after its creation, together with the introduction of US-style ‘fair use for copyright works - shows the Productivity Commission has a profound lack of understanding of the writing process and the screen industry more broadly. The changes, if implemented, could leave the authors of Australian creative works with little or even nothing to show for their efforts.Details of the inquiry with links on making a submission to the Productivity Commission and registering to attend a public hearing can be found HERE.

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