Monday, February 15, 2010

ABR's Favourite Australian Novel

I voted for The Vivisector by Patrick White in the Australian Book Review survey of favourite Australian novels. It made it into the Top 20 at place 14.
The book is also in the running for the 1970 Lost Man Booker Prize. That year, the rules were changed and 1970 books were not considered. The prize is now being reconsidered. Would Paddy have cared? (Probably -- he was a dark horse.)
If you are frightened of reading Paddy and who isn't, The Vivisector is a good place to start. It's a very Sydney novel. I'm thinking of the humidity and dampness there at the moment and the book's atmosphere is already with me. I like to think it is close to being a self-portrait -- the cruelness of the artist cutting through emotional sinews in pursuit of his obsessions.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Copyright cases: Comment

The recent decisions in the iiNet and "Dowununder" cases are quite straightforward, steady-as-she-goes affirmations of the solidity of the legal decision-making processes in the Australian copyright system. On the one hand, the courts have cleared an internet service provider (ISP), that is, iiNet, of providing a means for people to carry out illegal activities. This decision will be challeneged, of course, and the issue will go to the High Court. Why? For the content providers, there's too much money at stake.
With "Downunder", the primacy of 'material form' is again demonstrated. But the offending part of the song is only a very small part.
The real issue, as in all copyright disputes, is how much is it worth. That will be the interesting part of this case.