on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘disasters’

Of disasters – a copyright lesson – and more

Disasters: Back on air after a time without internet or telephone. It certainly felt quite odd and isolating, but of course could not compare with the real isolation and concerns of those in the east and north of this enormous country who have been coping with cyclones, tornadoes, floods; and those in the south and west affected by raging bushfires. In all of those places there were property and stock losses and thousands were evacuated to safety. Many places were officially declared disaster areas. Sadly some lives were also lost. State Emergency Services, councils, police, fire services, the army, Red Cross, NGOs, many other community services, and thousands volunteers did a colossal job and are still supporting communities. Large numbers of people were airlifted by helicopter from roofs. We are so lucky in this country to have the resources to help.

A copyright lesson: For many months as I’ve been editing my novel Past imperfect there’s been a small niggle that I should check out some minor quotations for copyright to see if permissions were needed. The usages were no more than a line or two from a poem and  the same from a lyric, both from many years ago – a Bible quote and some words from a Robert Burns grace. So eventually I started to check on my own account and was daunted to find that material I expected to be ‘out of copyright’ might not be so because of estate clauses. Due to uncertainty I searched for informed sources and eventually found the Australian Copyright Council’s website [www.copyright.org.au] and its range of clear and useful Information Sheets.

This service provides a preliminary free service for artists of various kinds. Within days of my online enquiry the response advised that permissions would be needed for two of my quotes, and included helpful follow-up information.

When I took the next steps it was clear that I would need to supply substantial details for consideration of my request. As it all seemed quite onerous with potential time delays and a possible cost, I decided to rewrite those parts of the manuscript instead given that I did not feel the significance of the contribution to my work rated the effort. The quotes would have been nice to have but not essential and did not add to my work [only acted as literary confirmation for the experience of my characters]. In my judgement I would have been highlighting the works which in theory might have interested people enough to borrow or buy the original sources and thus add to the value of the estate.

An interesting and salutary experience. So unless the work of others is essential to my own writing I will forgo any thought of use in future OR do all the necessary enquiries at an early stage.

At least I can now finish the editing and new writing with an easy mind.

Writing colleagues: Last week started our Writers Group year of critiquing. It was good to be together again and the discussion was lively. A few of us experienced minor climate induced inconveniences – loss of power, internet, phone, rain leaks and collapse of ceilings. Annoying but hardly rating in the scheme of other people’s concerns.

One of our members, Nene has had another success – she will have a poem included in an anthology later in the year. More about that when she has more detail. Also I will shortly be featuring Nene in an author interview for this blog.

The Next Big Thing: I hope you all caught up on Helen Carey’s tag after mine last week when I was off air. If you haven’t you can find it at http://helencareybooks.wordpress.com/

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