If you were optimistic that Australia might reduce copyright terms to 20 years as recommended by the recent Australian Government Productivity Commission report, think again. A number of Australian authors have been freaking out over the proposal, but Business Insider Australia reports that Australian Federal arts minister Mitch Fifeld has told them to calm down. He says that the Australian government has no intention of trying to shorten copyright terms—nor could it even if it wanted to, without breaking or renegotiating a number of international treaties.
He also reminded critics that the contentious report was a report to the government, not by the government, and once the government has received it in full, it will then decide what needs to be done—presumably taking other points of view into consideration as well. But one thing he didn’t mention was the proposed lifting of parallel importation bans on books and other media—something that also upsets local authors and bookstores, but that the current government has already indicated it supports. If that measure goes through, bookstores could legally order books from overseas distributors for resale at lower prices.
It remains to be seen whether any of this will end up leading to lower prices for Australian consumers.