All parties of the Book Industry Roundtable believe a reading nation is a better nation and that every child in Australia should have a reading start. They have expressed their willingness to collaborate to help. As part of this collaboration, the Round table parties have agreed to remove uncertainty about the legality of storytimes held outside the library premises.
Reading a picture book to a group of children in a library is not a breach of copyright, but librarians have been uncertain whether library exceptions in copyright law extend to storytimes outside library walls.
To remove doubt, 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 ASA, and ALIA agree on the value of an environment in which libraries are free from doubt and feel confident to run important early literacy activities such as storytimes both at the library and elsewhere, for example at local festivals or as part of a community playgroup activity.
“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.”
This agreement does not cover the recording of a book reading, which continues to need permission from the copyright owner.
The agreement on storytimes follows on from an earlier agreement between ALIA and the APA about the use of images of book covers by libraries to promote programs and collections.
This agreement was made in September 2019.