Did you know that, in Australia, copyright never expires for unpublished manuscripts? And a manuscript, in this context, could mean anything: letters, diaries, even recipes.
For researchers, that means that the only way to access such ‘work’ is to visit the archive/library/organisation where it is held. With a never-expiring copyright, nobody can (legally) make a copy, because permission can’t be obtained. Hence, these types of things aren’t going to be digitised.
Even if such a work doesn’t exist for one of your own ancestors, accessing primary sources can offer clues as to how your ancestors lived. So, wouldn’t it be great if there was some way we could access unpublished materials more easily?
Maybe there is.
FAIR is campaigning for copyright reform and we can all help by baking one of the recipes they have digitised and published – breaking copyright law – and sending them a photo. Cooking for copyright day is July 31, so ideally, that’s when to bake, but they’ll accept photos until August 7. They’re also interested in family recipes you may have, if they’re from the 50s or earlier.
The aim of the campaign is for copyright law reform: for copyright law on unpublished works to be the same as for published works, which expires 70 years after the death of the creator/author.
So, go on over to their website, check out the recipes, pick one, and bake. It’s that simple, and who knows what people-power might achieve. Maybe some of these one-off documents might be digitised in the not-too-distant future.