Vale former Chair Brian Johns, AO
Brian Johns AO sadly passed away on 1 January 2016.
Brian spent 13 years on the Copyright Agency’s Board until the end of 2014, including six as chairman, from 2004 -2009.
Brian made an inestimable contribution to journalism, Australian writing, broadcasting and the visual arts, indeed to creativity and our country generally. He served the nation in too many roles to fully detail here but they included outstanding work as a leading journalist and editor; senior public servant and adviser to the Commonwealth; publishing director at Penguin Books; managing director of the SBS and ABC; chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority; director and then chairman of the Copyright Agency; and director on the board of Melbourne University Publishing.
Brian increased funding, with the agreement of members, of the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, which has provided millions of dollars to individuals and organisations delivering creative projects primarily in literature and the visual arts. One of the most important of these initiatives is Reading Australia – a landmark project which provides resources, tailored to the curriculum, as a means to encourage teachers to explore Australian stories with their students. Brian was passionate about ensuring Australian students read and learnt from Australian stories.
He was also a driving force behind the 2010 establishment of the resale royalty scheme, which rightly provides visual artists with a royalty from the resale of their work.
Brian was a staunch promoter of the importance of an effective copyright regime to respect the rights of creators, and to enable the ongoing production of books, journals, newspapers, visual art, films, television and music.
His lifelong commitment to Australian creativity has meant that the lot of creators across the country to produce great work has been enhanced, which has deeply enriched our culture and our understanding of what it means to be Australian.
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