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Australian Society of Authors Christmas Party in Melbourne

17/12/2017

FUIS attends Australian Society of Authors Christmas party in Melbourne, Australia.

Italian and Australian flag images
Following a visit to the Italian Cultural Institute in Melbourne, the second cultural encounter for FUIS in Australia was at the Australian Society of Authors' Christmas Party, held on Wednesday 13th December at RMIT University in Melbourne. Newly appointed Chair of ASA’s Board Dr Julienne van Loon spoke about the Society’s achievements over the year.
 
National Copyright in Australia
Julienne reported on the ASA’s successful advocacy against the Australian Productivity Commission’s recommendations in 2016, which were potentially very damaging to the interests of authors and culture. They followed the global push towards a weakening of copyright protection, recommending a US-style “fair use” approach to copyright exceptions be adopted, known to impact authors’ control over their copyright negatively, and lifting Parallel Import Restrictions (PIRS), which safeguard author incomes and the Australian publishing industry. Although the threat has not entirely gone away, organisations from the industry have come together through the Books Create Australia campaign to put authors’ case forward, winning a lot of support, including assurances from influential politicians and a 20,000 signature strong petition. As a bonus, the campaign has fostered renewed appreciation for authors’ work in Australia and brought the industry as a whole together in mutual support.
 
Other ASA Work
 
Julienne also reported several successful projects including:
  • A collaboration with the Arts Law Centre to enhance ASA’s services to authors to assist with contract negotiations 
  • A new website and database 
  • A member survey which has led to initiatives including studies into authors’ rates of pay
  • The administration of several awards
  • A Marrakesh Forum dealing with accessible publishing to address Australia’s obligations under the Marrakesh Treaty
  • Podcasts of conversations with key industries across the writing and book world 
  • An update to the ‘Style File’ for Australian illustrators
 and more...

Many of these initiatives have been funded by the Copyright Agency, Australia’s copyright licensing body.
Julienne Van Loon delivering speech with person signing
 
It is encouraging to hear of such active service being done on behalf of authors in Australia - an inspiration to authors'  associations worldwide. FUIS congratulates ASA and wishes its members buon Natale.