Copyright in Published Editions: A History of a Declining Right
The right to published editions was introduced in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) in order to prevent the unfair copying of typographical layouts of published editions of books in the public domain. The initial rationale, its actual effectiveness, and its relevance today has attracted very little attention among commentators. Historical analysis shows that the right was introduced into Australian copyright law without much discussion or engagement. Even today it is difficult to find evidence that there was ever an actual need for a right of this nature in Australia, or that it has had any positive effects on the local publishing industry since. This article demonstrates that despite its original intention, some industries today have moved to exploit the right by reinterpreting it to protect their own financial interests. This article concludes with some lessons that could be learned from the history of published edition copyright in the context of current copyright policy discussions — particularly in relation to the newly proposed rights for news publishers.