Simon Groth

Published On


Page Range

pp. 379-402

Print Length

23 pages

14. Redefining Reader and Writer, Remixing Copyright: Experimental Publishing at if:book Australia

Groth details several experimental literary projects created by if:book Australia and highlights the challenges to copyright they present and subsequent considerations for writers, audiences and publishers. if:book Australia has created works that are deliberately ephemeral, made freely available editing data, and encouraged the practice of ‘remixing’: using existing literature as source material for new works. In considering copyright and how it supports or hinders creative works, especially in new media, my approach is therefore deeply informed by the necessities of practice. The approach to copyright in such forms is based on mutual respect between artist and audience. Remix in particular relies on opening creative work to enable audiences to share and modify, while ensuring that the original artist and work is acknowledged. Digital media has permanently changed the underlying assumptions that have informed our approach to copyright. Making unauthorised copies of physical media requires an investment of resources that makes it unfeasible without the promise of financial reward. Intellectual property stored in a digital medium may be copied so effortlessly as to be invisible to audiences. Witness the number of incidental copies made of an email attachment, for example. Digital media also exposes the shortcomings of territoriality in licensing, something that Australian writers and audiences alike feel keenly when access to digital content is artificially ‘geoblocked’. But digital media does not replace physical media. An appropriate copyright system should therefore not dismiss all current copyright principles, but rather acknowledge and adapt them for the medium in which they are transmitted. Current debate in Australia focuses on adopting US style fair use rather than the more archaic and medium-specific fair dealing. Many writers’ organisations and individuals have publicly opposed such a measure, although their opposition has been conflated with other more egregious policy of lifting parallel import restriction.