FAIR cooked its way to important copyright reform

Thursday, 15 June 2017

FAIR and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) welcomes the introduction of important copyright reforms and is delighted that our supporters' efforts to lobby has led to real change.

The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill  was today passed in Parliament and it includes a number of important and overdue amendments that will dramatically free up how Australians can access and use copyright material.

In July to August 2015, FAIR ran a campaign called Cooking for Copyright which raised awareness of of our muddled copyright law and lobbied for immediate reform.

Back then, FAIR published 35 handwritten recipes on the website – effectively contravening the current copyright law – and we asked ALIA Members, FAIR supporters and Australians to cook one of these recipes – or choose an old favourite – and to post a photo to facebook or tweet with the #cookingforcopyright hashtag. Within two weeks of the launch, the campaign was trending #1 on Twitter with more than 1 500 tweets and  9,973,809 Twitter impressions.

FAIR and ALIA had incredible support from National and State Libraries Australasia, archive, museum and historical society colleagues, who provided dozens of recipes, ranging from perfect morning tea fodder through to weird medicinal products. 

Sue McKerracher, Chief Executive Officer of ALIA, said: 'With the help of ALIA and FAIR's Members, this campaign helped convince our politicians that change was needed to copyright law to unlock millions of items, putting them in the public domain.'

The Bill ends antiquated provisions in the Australian Copyright Act that provide perpetual copyright for unpublished materials, no matter how old they are.

As a result millions of historical manuscripts - from celebrity letters and diaries held by the National, State and Territory libraries and archives, to the thousands of theses at our universities - will be simultaneously freed into the public domain on 1 January 2019.

Sue McKerracher is encouraging everyone to cook again to celebrate these important copyright reforms on 31 July - to mark the two-year anniversary since librarians around the country took part in this act of civil disobedience.

'Dig up those favorite recipes, have a morning or afternoon tea and celebrate how your lobbying efforts paid off. It will be a wonderful moment to reflect on how we contributed to real change,' she said.

ALIA also supports the media release today issued by the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.



Heather Wellard, Communications Manager: heather.wellard@alia.org.au | 02 6215 8225 | 0409830 439