Save our Books, and their Authors

24 June 2021

A recently-launched consultation from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is reviewing the framework for copyright laws now the UK has left the EU, and its proposed changes have the potential to severely reduce authors’ incomes. So we’ll be calling on ALCS members to help us halt these potential disastrous amendments.

Update 1/09/2021: Please note the period for formal submissions to the IPO for this consultation is closed. We are continuing to monitor the Government’s work on this and are still raising the concerns of authors on this consultation through its next stages.

The UK government is currently looking at the copyright exhaustion regime as the UK’s departure from the EU means a decision must be made as to what form this law takes. Exhaustion forms part of the strong copyright framework which currently protects authors, specifically giving them control over distribution and pricing of their works at home and abroad.

Potential changes proposed in the IPO consultation, for example to an international copyright exhaustion regime, would see writers facing the possibility of their books being imported back into the UK at a different – usually lower – price than the author agreed when putting that work on the domestic market. This could mean that UK authors could lose the ability to limit the global resale of their books, which would have an impact on authors’ abilities to be remunerated fairly for the sale of their works. Writers’ earnings have already been severely affected by COVID-19, which is why the outcome of this consultation is important to prevent further damage.

ALCS is currently in the process of putting together a formal campaign that ALCS members can support by contacting their respective MP with details of a solution that would protect creators. We plan on releasing further details of this in a dedicated ebulletin within the next few weeks, so please keep an eye on your email inbox for this.

In the meantime, we would encourage ALCS members to get involved by signing the Save our Books open letter, which urges Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to support copyright for authors when making any decisions around changes to copyright laws.

We’ll be posting regular updates on this topic on social media too. Find us at @ALCS_UK on Twitter and Instagram.