Book industry agreements
August 2016: The Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) came to a landmark agreement to allow libraries to use book covers to promote books and authors without seeking permission each time. They agreed on the value of an environment in which libraries can be confident, for promotional purposes, to reproduce images of book covers whose copyright is owned by Australian publishers.
The Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Library and Information Association agree that it is in everyone's interest for libraries to be able to reproduce images of book covers to promote library programs and collections and to connect readers with books and authors, for example in library displays, posters, catalogues, bookmarks and other marketing materials, social media posts and website pages.
It is the policy of the Australian Publishers Association that its members allow such use without any need for specific permission or payment.
September 2019: .
The Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Australian Publishers Association (APA) and Australian Society of Authors (ASA) have endorsed an industry agreement, which enables libraries to photocopy the removable inserts of children’s activity picture books.
It’s dubbed the Jolly Postman agreement after the iconic 1986 book The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. Parents will appreciate the difficulty of tracking down the tiny inserts at home and the problem is multiplied in a library setting.
This joint statement from the APA, ALIA and the ASA will remove doubt about whether libraries can continue lending the book after copying its removable parts, to avoid children being disappointed by missing pieces.
“The Australian Publishers Association (APA), the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) share a common goal for all children to be able to enjoy books and stories from the earliest years. Enjoyment of activity picture books relies on the inserts being available to every reader. To facilitate this, it is the policy of the APA and ASA that their members allow libraries to copy the inserts and replace them as needed during the borrowing life of the book, without the need for specific permission or additional payment to the copyright owner.’
This agreement follows on from an earlier agreement about the use of images of book covers by libraries to promote programs and collections.
The Book Industry Roundtable is comprised of the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA).
All parties of the Book Industry Roundtable believe a reading nation is a better nation and that every child in Australia should have a reading start. They have expressed their willingness to collaborate to help. As part of this collaboration, the Roundtable parties have agreed to remove uncertainty about the legality of storytimes held outside the library premises.
Reading a picture book to a group of children in a library is not a breach of copyright, but librarians have been uncertain whether library exceptions in copyright law extend to storytimes outside library walls.
To remove doubt, ALIA, the APA and the ASA have made this joint statement:
“The Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian Society of Authors share a common goal for all children to be able to enjoy books and stories from the earliest years. Library-run storytimes make this opportunity available to many families, including those without books at home.
“While the Copyright Act enables the performance of a picture book in some circumstances, the APA, the ASA, and ALIA agree on the value of an environment in which libraries are free from doubt and feel confident to run important early literacy activities such as storytimes both at the library and elsewhere, for example at local festivals or as part of a community playgroup activity.
“It is the policy of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors that its members allow such use without any need for specific permission or payment.”
This agreement does not cover the recording of a book reading, which continues to need permission from the copyright owner.
The agreement on storytimes follows on from an earlier agreement between ALIA and the APA about the use of images of book covers by libraries to promote programs and collections.
Copyright law reform
The Copyright Amendment (Service Providers) Bill 2017 was passed in Parliament on 27 June 2018. The legislation took effect on 29 December, 2018, which meant that Australian disability organisations, education providers and cultural institutions were covered by the copyright safe harbour scheme from this date.
The Copyright Amendment (Disability Access and Other Measures) Bill was passed in Parliament on 15 June, 2017, and it included a number of important and overdue amendments that would dramatically free up how Australians can access and use copyright material. In July to August 2015, ALIA ran a campaign called Cooking for Copyright which raised awareness of of our muddled copyright law and lobbied for immediate reform. On 1 January 2019, 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 - were simultaneously freed into the public domain.
We continue to advocate for improved provisions for orphan works, for copyright to override contracts and for fair use.
The Marrakesh Treaty and inclusive publishing
The Marrakesh Treaty (also known as the Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities) was signed by Australia in Geneva on 24 June 2014. One of the most important aspects of the treaty is the allowances it makes for books for people with print disabilities to be exported. Before the Treaty, copyright prohibited such cross-border trade which wasted time, money and resources world-wide.
ALIA is a member of the Australian Inclusive Publishing Initiative alongside associations representing publishers, authors, copyright owners and people living with print disabilities.
Page updated 28 May 2021