Academics and researchers from across Australia will present papers on a range of topics responding to the theme Laws of Publishing. Convened by Alexandra Dane and Dr Millicent Weber.

Abstract: #NotAll Publishers – The Case for Rethinking Author Contracts

Rebecca Giblin


Authors are the first owners of literary copyrights, and then generally licence and/or transfer those rights to publishers via contract. Since copyright was first conceived three hundred years ago, publishers have tended to take rights for the maximum term permitted by law. In Australia, that’s the entire term of copyright: the author’s lifetime and then 70 years more. In her keynote, Giblin will explore how the copyright interests of authors and publishers differ, the history behind existing current contractual practice, and how the supporting rationales are being challenged by the digital paradigm. Can publishers still justify taking rights for a hundred years or more? And if they don’t, what might that mean for getting authors paid and books read?


Dr Rebecca Giblin is an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor within Monash University’s Law Faculty working at the intersection of law and literary culture. Her written work includes the books Code Wars (Edward Elgar, 2011) and What if we could reimagine copyright? (with Kim Weatherall and others, ANU Press, 2017). She has held visiting appointments at Columbia, Berkeley and Sciences-Po (Paris) and addressed academic, NGO and industry audiences across five continents. She is currently leading research to investigate what copyright law could look like if it actually took authors’ interests seriously (; @authorsinterest), and to understand the legal and social impacts of ebook lending in public libraries around the world (; @elendingproject).