The power balance revisited: Authors, publishers and copyright in the digital sphere
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The transition of the printed word to digital product is arguably the most significant event in the history of publishing since the invention of the printing press, presenting authors with unexpected challenges. The evolving digital publishing environment has irrevocably changed the copyright expectations of authors, who find themselves grappling with the realities of both traditional expectations and digital advances in publishing. This article deals with the Australian author's place in an ever expanding digital sphere, copyright and publishing implications, and digital copyright challenges presented by this transitional environment. It also examines the views of Australian authors on the subject and addresses the shifting power balance in publishing. The role of the author in the public sphere will be addressed, followed by three examples of how authors have asserted or alternatively failed to assert themselves in the expanded publishing environment. In particular, the article considers the interrelation between the ‘author sphere’, the ‘publisher sphere’ and the ‘digital public sphere’. The evolving copyright landscape brought about by the Internet provides an appropriate environment in which to investigate authors' perceptions of this legal concept that impacts so intrinsically upon their creative rewards.
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