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Print industry takes issue with 30-day report

Monday, 08 December 2008
By Print 21 Online Article

Printers have been pushed aside in the productivity Commission’s recently released Issues Paper on Copyright Restrictions.

The report is in response to the proposed removal of the 30-day rule, whereby local publishers must supply a book to the Australian market within 30 days of its publication overseas.

Mention of printers and printing is only minimal, with the industry listed under ‘other parties’ along with authors’ agents and copyright collection agencies.
This has angered Printing Industries, which believes that book printers are a vital component of the book production value chain.

“We are very disappointed that the Issues Paper does not adequately consider the implications to the book printing industry of any changes to the existing arrangements,” said Philip Anderson, CEO of Printing Industries.

Anderson noted that the removal of the 30-day rule could result in the loss of employment, particularly in regional areas of Australia, where book printing is a major employer.

“In regions such as Maryborough in Victoria, one in four of the town’s workforce is employed by the book printing industry,” he added.

According to Cliff Brigstocke, (pictured) CEO of Ligare and OPUS Print Group, this reactivated inquiry into the parallel importation of books seems driven by the notion that books are too expensive because of the 30/90-day rules, where if a book is not supplied within that timeframe, the local copyright holder forsakes their copyright privileges allowing booksellers to import the book directly from any overseas supplier for distribution within Australia.

“To complain about the price of a book without understanding what goes in to produce a book, including the market it serves, shows that what is really needed is the education of the Australian book consumer so that the book buyer is informed,” he said.

Brigstocke said that the removal of a 30-day rule would “most certainly result in a reduction in local book publishing” and “severely hamper a local industry.”

A final verdict is due for release on 13 May 2009.

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