Research Findings: Authors’ Perceptions and the Copyright Framework

Research Findings: Authors’ Perceptions and the Copyright Framework

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 43
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5214-9.ch008


This chapter deals with the findings in relation to the first two research questions, namely: 1) How do Australian authors perceive copyright affecting them, and does it have any impact on how they practise? and 2) Do Australian authors believe that the existing copyright framework supports and encourages them in their creative efforts? Specifically, chapter 8 records the findings and preliminary observations in relation to authors’ perceptions of copyright and the copyright framework, whereas chapter 9 looks at authors and publishers in a changing publishing industry. The chapter also includes a description of the demographics of the survey respondents and information on their incomes. Further issues discussed in chapter 8 are: whether authors see copyright as an incentive to create, how they view moral rights, their thoughts on existing copyright structures such as Copyright Agency Limited (CAL), perceived problem areas in the field of copyright and whether they regard authors as adequately protected by copyright legislation. Chapter 9 focuses on the relationship between authors and publishers, publishing contracts, ebooks, Google, and publishing options for authors in the digital world. Preliminary conclusions regarding authors’ views on these issues lay the foundation for an in-depth discussion and analysis in chapter 10.
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The turmoil in copyright law in recent times might be compared to shifting tectonic plates. Consequently the research findings are viewed within the context of this changing landscape, and seek to capture some prevailing themes and viewpoints of Australian authors during this transitional period.

The findings in this chapter address the first two research questions, focussing firstly on authors’ perception of copyright and how it affects them as creators and secondly, it examines whether they perceive the existing copyright framework as supportive and/or encouraging, and whether they have experienced any problems within this structure. On a broader level, these findings also provide a link with the philosophical concepts of copyright through history discussed in Chapter 3, by discussing the respondents’ views on the meaning and significance of copyright to them as creators. Furthermore, it aims to enquire how the author functions in the subaltern sphere of the ‘author group’ in relation to the broader public sphere, within its ambits of socio-political and legislative change. The third research question, i.e. a discussion of authors’ views on the changing nature of the publishing industry and how they have been affected by changes or advances in this area, will be discussed in the next chapter, traversing issues in the publishing industry as well as the emergence of new business and copyright models.

The results of the online survey are presented here in conjunction with the comments and responses of participants from the in-depth interviews, with comparative tables used to illustrate certain demographic variations.


As discussed in the last chapter, the participants consisted of 156 published authors who responded to a national online survey (September-October 2010), as well as a group of 17 authors, three publishers and a publishing contract consultant with whom in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted over a period of 16 months (July 2008 - November 2009). The author participants ranged from newly published to bestselling authors, including male and female respondents from a range of age groups, between 20 and 100+.

Presentation of Findings

The findings relate to the pivotal themes which emerged from the research questions plus further relevant issues that were identified during the course of the interviews and online survey. The diverse nature of the respondents produced a variety of responses on different issues, depending on how affected they were personally by the subject matter. For example, as expected, part time authors were in general less interested in copyright issues than their full time counterparts, who were financially dependent on their creative efforts. The findings in this chapter and the next allow for some preliminary observations, which will be more extensively discussed and analysed in Chapter 10.

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