The god of cheaper prices: New threats to our literary culture from the Productivity Commission
The federal government has been promoting the innovation economy, but is considering recommendations for legal reform which will undermine the financial and cultural interests of creators. This conflict captures the tension around real reform in this area. Are they being serious? The recommendations are contained in the report of the Productivity Commission, an independent panel which reviews options to make our economy more productive, favouring free markets, and eschewing monopolistic practices.
Intellectual property laws are all about monopolies which have long existed to foster creativity and invention. With respect to copyright, the Productivity Commission has recommended the abolition of restrictions on parallel importation and the introduction of a defence of fair use in copyright in place of the fair dealing defence.
Arts Highlights 2016
- “Every Brilliant Thing” – Malthouse Theatre. Playwright Duncan Macmillan here poses the question of what it is like to grow up with a suicidal mother and responds by thinking about and listing everything brilliant thing about being alive – number 999,997 was “the alphabet” (I got to read out number 685 – “skinny dipping”). This is a wonderful and enlivening show and after more than 300 performances around the world has hopefully deterred more than a few suicides. It is not without its tough and searing moments. Macmillan reminds us of that sense of the “crushing blow” which we all experience from time to time “if you are paying attention”.
- The Robert Glasper Trio playing at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Glasper is one of the successors in the jazz tradition of Miles Davis, and appeared in Melbourne as one of a number of the Miles Davis “school”, which this year included Esperanza Spalding, Gary Bartz and Wayne Shorter (the latter two having played with Miles Davis). Glasper is a master of a range of jazz styles and brought his latest album “Covered” to the concert stage. He is a consummate jazz pianist and a master of the intimacy of the jazz piano – a wonderful light touch and a constantly enquiring improvisation.
- The ACO with the soprano Julia Lezhneva singing Handel. Occasionally the hand of God reaches into one of our performing venues. The diminutive Russian singer has such a command of the concert space with a voice as accurate and sublime as you could hear. Aged 27, and on the cusp of a major international operatic career, she is a perfect fit for the ACO, which played the backing ensemble role with skill and deference allowing the great young singer to hold centre stage. It was a night to remember – the best singing at least this audience member has heard in the Melbourne Recital Centre, itself a wonderful venue for voice.
Aboriginal Australia - A Personal Story
My journey into Aboriginal Australia started almost by complete accident.
I was completing my reading period for the Victorian Bar, having made the transition from solicitor to barrister, and had no idea how or if I was going to get any work. By chance, I heard a radio program on the ABC AM morning show about the need for new laws to protect Aboriginal artworks from unauthorised reproduction.
Managing IP Disputes
Scope of rights
A key starting point in managing IP disputes is an understanding of the scope and limitations of IP protection – having regard to the available term of a right, the ambit of any monopoly and the defences which might be available.
A brief survey of some recent IP cases shows the breadth of the range of IP disputes and the way in which Courts are dealing with contemporary rights management issues.
Your every waking hour
An admiring study of postwar reconstruction
What is it about wars and the military that produce so much innovation and capacity? This a big and bold book which takes the contemporary collective awareness of Australia's wartime efforts on the battlefield and reflects on the building of the country on the back of the victory in 1945. It also invites the question of how best we can address the imperatives of building social infrastructure.
1939 was a watershed year in a number of ways. As Stuart Macintyre explains, the nation was in continuing decline following the Depression of the late 1920s (with nine per cent unemployment), and was faced with yet another major war on top of the terrible losses in World War I. On the backing of Britain's declaration of support in the face of the threat from an expansionist Japan, Australia committed to assist in the defence of Britain and reluctantly entered yet another European war.
Arcadia (Sydney Theatre Company)
Many wonderful things have been written about this sprawling gem of a play since it was first staged in 1993. Two decades later, it still bamboozles, delights, and moves its audience in its uncompromising search for meaning in love and science. This was a production in genuine homage to one of the great plays of modern times.
All They Seem’d To Want
The Spinifex Art Project and Pissaro at the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Gweagal Shield in the British Museum Collection of Aboriginal artefacts at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Letter from Tel Aviv
Tel Aviv and I go back a few decades. I lived there in the early 1980s, working as a journalist. I fell in love with it then and my romance with the city endures. It is not because it is beautiful or historic (it is barely 100 years old), though the area does have a timeless and much-recorded pre-history. Tel Aviv is badly planned, and many of the buildings are ramshackle and as tenuous as the shifting sands on which the city is built. It is famous for its Bauhaus-style buildings, but many of them are in desperate need of repair. In more recent times, the skyline has been dotted with modernist high-rise tenements and office buildings. They give the city a cold and anonymous edge.
Excursions in the Law
What’s on a judge’s mind? Litigants and advocates would love to know. Former judge Peter Heerey answers that question in his latest book, a compendium of writing over many years, covering a vast array of topics and in myriad forms.