Cheaper Books And Software For All Australians

The Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) today congratulated the Federal Government on its proposed changes to Australian copyright law.

Australia’s consumers, schools, universities, libraries and businesses will benefit from the Government’s decision to amend the Copyright Act to allow the parallel importation of legitimately produced books, periodicals, printed music, and software products including computer-based games.

‘The Government’s reforms will free all Australian importers and distributors to source legitimate products from other countries and make them available to consumers and businesses at competitive prices.’ Said Mr Nick Smith, Executive Officer of the ADA.

Import restrictions allow book publishers and software companies to charge artificially high prices. These restrictions also force Australians to wait for these products to be released onto the Australian market, often long after they have been released elsewhere.

The recent report by the Intellectual Property and Competition Review Committee, a group of independent economists who looked at intellectual property from a competition perspective, is in agreement:

“The Committee is therefore of the view that the restrictions on parallel importation in the Copyright Act should be repealed. It believes that such a move would enhance competitive neutrality, both as between types of copyright material and as between the industries and activities that rely on copyright protection and those that do not; it would enhance competition in the supply of copyright materials; and it need not compromise the efficiency of copyright enforcement or the goals of the copyright system.”

The ADA also rejects the idea that permitting parallel importation will lead to piracy. All products that are imported must still be legitimate items made with the permission of the copyright owner. The Government has introduced stern anti-piracy measures to deal with the separate question of pirated material.

‘The idea that prohibiting parallel imports as a useful piracy control device has been exposed as bogus.’ Said Mr Charles Britton, Senior Policy Officer of the Australian Consumers Association.

The ADA is a coalition of public and private sector interests formed to promote balanced copyright law and provide an effective voice for a public interest perspective in the copyright debate. ADA members include schools, universities, consumer groups, major cultural institutions, IT companies, scientific and other research organisations, libraries and individuals.