[LINK] A call to arms

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Wed Jul 15 10:55:08 AEST 2009

It has been said that, while most of us favour progress, many fear change.

> As expected, and feared by most authors, booksellers and publishers, 
> the Productivity Commission has recommended to the Federal Government 
> that it lift all restrictions on parallel importation of books.

Copyright is an anachronism: though fear is natural, change is 
inevitable. In change is opportunity. What opportunities does this 
change offer?

The way I see it, Australia is a small culture, under sustained attack 
from larger ones. Whatever the genesis of those attacks, the effect is 
of cultural warfare. One effective defence might be to give away our 
cultural produce: to make Australian arts the most cost-effective in the 
world to consume. Anything that can be presented digitally, we should 
offer free to the world.

How to compensate the creators? A small fee (from the nation) for each 
download seems appropriate. How much does an author get for each book; 
how much a songwriter or performer for each track on each CD? Answers to 
those questions provide a starting point for calculating a fee.

This might seem to cut out the publishers and manufacturers, but text is 
not a book; a download is not a DVD. We may well find that free 
downloads increase the market for physical products, particularly for 
lesser-known artists.

Given the need for legislation and (probably) taxpayer funding, I see no 
way to avoid government involvement. Market Fundamentalists will hate 
that, though the market capitalist potential is substantial.

All we need is the will.
David Boxall                    |  The more that wise people learn
                                |  The more they come to appreciate
http://david.boxall.name        |  How much they don't know.

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