ACT Libraries campaigning for copyright reform

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LIBRARIES ACT has joined a campaign calling for unpublished documents like handwritten recipes, letters and photographs to have the same copyright law as published documents, so the knowledge can be shared.

“Currently copyright law in Australia says published documents have a copyright on them for 70 years after the death of the creator, then can be released for public use. Unpublished documents however have a copyright on them forever,” said Sarah Steed, Senior Manager, Content and Engagement, Libraries ACT.

“The campaign ‘Cooking for Copyright’ is being championed by The Australian Library and Information Association. Its aim is to highlight the need for copyright law reform, so the same rules apply to unpublished documents as published documents.

“We’d like the Canberra community to show their support for this campaign by participating in Cooking for Copyright Day on Friday 31 July 2015.

“On the day, cook a classic Australian recipe like lamington or pavlova and hold a morning tea at your work, with a social group or just at home with your family. Then post a picture of your classic Australian dish on social media with the hashtag #cookingforcopyright .

“The current copyright on unpublished documents means things like recipes, letters, journals and unpublished books remain hidden forever.

“Cultural institutions like libraries, including the ACT Heritage Library, have large numbers of unpublished works in their collections. These non-commercial works are part of Australia’s cultural heritage.

“Since current law means copyright will never expire, libraries need permission to make them available to researchers, family historians and other interested people. Permission is often impossible to obtain as it involves locating the owner of the copyright often generations after an item was created.

“Copyright law reform would bring Australia into line with the international norm and ensure fair use of all works, published and unpublished,” Ms Steed concluded.

For more information about the campaign visit the Freedom of Access to Information and Resources website.

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