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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 14. 1967.

Copyright Used As Censorship

page 9

Copyright Used As Censorship

A Scene from "Storm Over Asia" reviewed by Rex Benson on page 16 of this issue.

A Scene from "Storm Over Asia" reviewed by Rex Benson on page 16 of this issue.

In past issues of Salient it has been commented that copyright restrictions which prohibit access to books which have been published either in the United States or Great Britain should be overcome by New Zealand leaving the Commonwealth and thus having freedom to choose from both English - publishing worlds.

Recent copies of the Times Literary Supplement have carried a long correspondence from both publishers and readers on the issue, of copyright, and the restrictions which publishers impose because they have the copyright but do not publish, even though the book may be available in another edition for several years. Readers object that this is just a blatant form of censorship.

One writer listed nearly ten books which he wanted to read "now," not when the English publisher decided to get around to publishing his edition (which are generally just lithographed copies).

Included among the authors were Robert Creeley, Ferlinghetti (Coney Island Of The Mind) and Artaud's (The Theatre and Its Double), while a legal expert on film censorship mentioned that Buster Keaton's My Wonderful World of Slapstick was kept off the British market for seven years because of copyright restrictions.

The situation in New Zealand is even mere desperate. Not only are we subject to "Commonwealth" copyright (more restrictive than England), we also receive our bocks several months after publication with exorbitant mark-ups (40 per cent in the case of Penguin paperbacks).

Thus we are deprived of many books which would otherwise go unnoticed if not for various journals which make it their business to inform about the new books. No one seriously relies on the Listener, Landfall, and certainly not the dally newspapers to find out what new books interest us.

All we can do is trust ourselves to certain quality booksellers, hoping that their resources can cover adequately each person's interests (which they possibly can't) or let us cope for ourselves, which means sorting through journal after journal for publications, then ordering it and finally waiting for several months while the order goes through and the books arrive.

For all the hoo-hah about censorship, I think many would be surprised just how little freedom there is if one really wanted to read what one wanted without too much trouble being attached.