Book industry partners come to agreement on copyright

Books Create Australia, the collaboration between the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA), the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian Publishers Association (APA) and the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has announced a special arrangement for library storytimes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For the duration of the pandemic, virtual storytimes will be sanctioned by an industry agreement. It is the policy of the Boards of the APA and ASA that their members suspend any requirements for copyright permission to be sought, in order to allow libraries to make recordings* or livestream storytimes so children aren’t denied this important and much-loved service.

To support libraries delivering storytimes online, ALIA, the APA and the ASA have made this joint statement:

‘The Australian Publishers Association, the Australian Library and Information Association and the Australian Society of Authors share a common goal for all children to be able to enjoy books and stories from the earliest years. Library-run storytimes make this opportunity available to many families, including those without books at home.

‘While the Copyright Act enables the performance of a picture book in some circumstances, the APA, the ALA, and ALIA are taking these steps to clarify any doubts. We value a safe environment, where libraries feel confident to adapt early literacy activities such as storytime for online delivery, via an open livestream or recording.

‘It is the policy of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Society of Authors that its members allow such use without any need for specific permission or payment’.

The agreement on virtual storytimes follows on from earlier agreements between ALIA, the APA and the ASA about the delivery of library run storytimes outside library buildings, the use of book covers to promote books and authors, and copying of the pull-out elements of books so as to replace the originals which have been lost by other borrowers.


*All libraries may deliver their Storytime sessions online, through a digital platform, such as Facebook Video, Youtube, Vimeo.

Storytime may either be live streamed or a library may make available a recording of Storytime online, provided that the recording is non-downloadable to the public. If practicable, the live steam or recordings will be made available only to library patrons who have signed in to access their library’s website.

This policy is temporary and will remain in force whilst COVID-19 remains as a WHO-declared pandemic.

Once this period has ended, libraries agree to destroy all recordings, and take down any online recordings. Libraries agree to provide bibliographic details of the featured book with any published recording of Storytime, including the title, author, illustrator and publisher.This image is putting the logos and names of the organisation at the top of the page to make it seem more authoritative and represent the interest groups

Book industry initiative meet at ALIA House

At a meeting at ALIA House on the day after the launch of Australian Reading Hour 2019 at Parliament House, Books Create Australia announced the launch of the new Books Create Australia website and unveiled two industry agreements which will benefit many across the nation.

The first is the Jolly Postman agreement, named after the 1986 book The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. It enables libraries to photocopy the removable inserts of children’s activity picture books so lost items can be easily replaced.

The second is the storytime agreement which addresses the grey area of copyright law around whether libraries can host storytime events outside the library premises, without needing to seek permission from the copyright holder.

These agreements follow on from an earlier industry breakthrough about the use of images of book covers by libraries to promote programs and collections.

Other matters discussed included industry wide promotional initiatives and sustainability.

‘The launch of the Books Create Australia website and the announcement of these two industry copyright agreements shows how closely libraries, publishers, authors and booksellers. Together we can champion Australian books and writing. It’s a vital part of Australia being a reading nation,’ Robert Knight, ALIA President, said.