Creative organisations launch #FreeIsNotFair campaign

June 27, 2017

Australian organisations representing musicians, authors, visual artists, educators, screen producers and publishers have joined forces to mount the #FreeIsNotFair campaign in response to a push by Big Tech and large organisations to water down Australia’s copyright laws.

The campaign’s website features leading Australian creators, such as musicians Jimmy Barnes and Josh Pyke, actor, director and writer Leah Purcell, mambo artist and musician Reg Mombassa and award-winning authors Anna Funder, Michael Robotham and Hazel Edwards.

APRA AMCOS, Australian Society of Authors, National Association for the Visual Arts, Australian Publishers Association, Books Create Australia, Screen Producers Australia, Screenrights, Indigenous Art Code and the Copyright Agency | Viscopy have developed the campaign to encourage people to write to MPs and Senators to voice concerns about recent proposals to overhaul Australia’s copyright laws.

It also follows on from a misleading campaign from Wikipedia which falsely claimed that the online encyclopaedia could not exist in Australia, even though it is already subject to Australian copyright law.

The Free is Not Fair campaign letter to MPs states: “Australian artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers have a right to receive fair payment for their work. Changes to Australian copyright laws being pushed by Tech Giants as well as the Productivity Commission will see the currently existing protections that ensure this watered down. They are calling for “fair use”, a legal doctrine used in just a handful of countries and the far-reaching extension of ‘safe harbours’. These doctrines would make it easier for large companies to use copyright material without the permission of its creator or fair payment. This is a threat to the income and jobs of Australian creators and will mean the next generation of Australian filmmakers, songwriters, artists and authors will find it harder to make a living. Of course, copyright needs to constantly evolve and update, however a wrong decision like this will greatly impact the future of Australian creators, their contribution to Australian innovation and the education of young Australians. Changes must not be made at the cost of Australian creativity.”

Gold Dagger award-winning crime author, Michael Robotham says, “Copyright’s a system whereby I can write a book, it’s licensed, it’s published, and a small amount of money for each sale comes to me. The proposed changes to the Copyright Act are ill thought out and they’re badly researched. If these changes become law, there will be fewer Australian stories. This will really end creativity in Australia.”

Reg Mombassa says, “Some people may think that art and music and writing are frivolous luxuries, but I think they’re incredibly important for any country’s soul and popular culture and intellectual life.”

To take part in the campaign, visit