Cooking for copyright

Stuart Thyer

I must confess, I glossed over the issue of copyright and unpublished works in the June Light Railways copyright article. The fact is that unpublished works (research notes, diaries, company records, unprinted negatives) remain in perpetual copyright. The cooking for copyright campaign is highlighting this fact and pushing for change. This would enable greater digitisation of archival material.

Unpublished recipe search and "Cooking for Copyright"

Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and the Australian Public Library Alliance are supporting the activities of the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee. They are seeking unpublished recipes, written before 1955, that can be utilized for this initiative. They are obtaining the recipes and developing a social media graphics in the meantime, for a proposed launch on 13 July.



The Attorney General has to respond to the Australian Law Reform Commission’s proposals for copyright law reform by 17 September. There is a window of opportunity to raise awareness of an all-round beneficial, non-controversial amendment. This would be to bring unpublished works into the normal copyright regime (70 years after the death of the creator). At present there is perpetual copyright in unpublished works. These works can include old diaries, letters, company records, theses, photographs. The impact is felt by our big collecting institutions, university libraries and by public libraries with local history collections, where these items cannot legally be digitised and made accessible to the community, family historians, researchers, and so on.

ALIA is seeking a way of stirring up interest with the general public, encouraging media coverage and gaining the interest and awareness of federal MPs and Senators. We will be asking the Attorney General to make digital access to unpublished works possible – something which would benefit everyone and would have no adverse effect on commercial publishers.

FAIR campaign

Under the FAIR banner ALIA proposes publishing a handful of recipes from unpublished sources and asking people to ‘cook for copyright’ – criminal cookies, infringement fudge – send us in a photo of their output, tweet, facebook, instagram, using our hashtag. It’s a fun way to get a serious message across and to raise awareness in a positive way.

Partners include Library users, Country Women’s Association, Federation of Australian Historical Societies, National Trust, GLAM sector institutions, Publishers.

Activities: Viral campaign on social media, Library morning teas, delivery of baked and sweet goods to MPs (and Senators) in their constituencies, media release.

Timing: Friday 31 July is ‘Cooking for Copyright’ day.

(Source: Australian Libraries and Information Association, Sue McKerracher, Email 3 July 2015)

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