Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusion and Recommendations

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5214-9.ch011

Abstract

This chapter deals with the research topics based on the discussion and analysis of the findings in chapter 10. It considers, first, what authors’ views are on copyright and how these perceptions influence them in their creative work. Second, it examines the role of copyright support structures and the legislative framework in order to ascertain how they are perceived by authors. Third, it discusses how authors have been affected by changes in publishing and, more specifically, the impact of electronic publishing. This discussion includes observations on the author-publisher relationship, publishing contracts, and future business models for authors. Finally, the research questions are considered against the backdrop of philosophical theory with consideration of the author’s place in the literary and public spheres. Factors such as developments in technology, parallel importing concerns, and changing trends in publishing and marketing are prompting authors to cultivate a greater awareness of issues that affect their livelihood. This chapter completes the discussion on the way in which authors are navigating their copyright in the expanded literary sphere and how they are dealing with digital technology in their creative work and publishing contracts. On a deeper level, it also reflects the author’s role in the literary and the greater public sphere and the relationship between the competing groups in the publishing industry.
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Conclusion

This book has examined the views of Australian authors in relation to various aspects of copyright, focusing on the position of authors in the current copyright framework and the relationship between authors and the publishing industry at a major historical juncture. The findings are considered within the ambits of global and Australian copyright legislation, which has its roots in philosophical theories such as utilitarianism and natural rights. Relevantly, the research timeframe has encompassed the Google digitisation, the parallel importing debate and a significant transition of publishing to the electronic media. In this context, it is evident that considerations relating to electronic copyright, specifically with regard to digital publishing contracts and copyright protection on the Internet, are of particular concern to authors. On a broader level, the expanded literary sphere within the digital environment, which links the issue of authorship to the transformation of this public sphere, provides a relevant framework for the discussion.

Specifically, the research has aimed to investigate Australian authors’ views on copyright issues through the three primary questions. On a deeper, theoretical level, the research has investigated the underlying tensions and symbiotic relationships between different segments of the publishing industry, with authors as the main focal point. It also addressed the balance between the utilitarian interests of the public on the one hand, and creators on the other. The findings indicate that there are various factors causing authors to be in danger of being marginalised, which include a lack of negotiating power, knowledge and insight, and increased challenges to their copyright. Add to this the relative isolation in which authors work and the rise in the Internet as the growing, dominant and global environment for literary exchanges (as opposed to localised bookshops), and authors’ power base is at risk of further erosion. Nevertheless, where they have been able to unite their efforts to challenge a perceived onslaught on their rights, they have proven to be a persuasive force.

The following conclusions are drawn with regard to the research topics:

How do Australian authors perceive copyright affecting them and does it have any impact on how they practise?

“Writing is a compulsive, and delectable thing. Writing is its own reward.” Henry Miller

Authors’ participation in the parallel import debate has indicated that authors are aware of the intrinsic value of copyright and territorial copyright protection. However, paradoxically, this sample shows that most do not regard copyright as an incentive to create (or a financial incentive) and are focussed instead on personal satisfaction and achieving recognition for their efforts. Most authors, and first time authors in particular, do not concern themselves with copyright during the creative process. Instead, they generally only become concerned about copyright at the publishing stage and see the value of writing resting in ‘the doing of it’ rather than financial reward. Thus, authors are not ‘rational maximisers’ in the economic sense but largely create for the love of writing. This viewpoint indicates a failure on the part of authors to fully appreciate and exploit the connection between their copyright and economic reward for their creative work. The fact that most authors are reliant on other sources of income and unable to sustain themselves on their writing income alone, support the contention that they are not adequately rewarded for their efforts. These findings explain, to a large degree, why authors continue creating despite low financial rewards.

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