The Australian Copyright Council reports that the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting has identified the problem of parallel importation of books as a priority area for reform and referred the issue to the Productivity Commission …
Presumably, this means that the Productivity Commission is supposed to come up with reasons why the current convoluted stepped regime (somebody somewhere must have written a book on how it works!) should be repealed and replaced with a regime permitting parallel imports of any book at any time as applies for sound recordings, computer programs, “accessories”, electronic literary or music items (in short, just about anything except feature films and books).
It will be “interesting” to see the competition analysis given that anyone who wants to buy a book can jump on the internet and order it from overseas anyway. (My personal favourite is www.addall.com.)
That said, it would not be hard to come up with a conclusion that a legislative regime that has six (yes! count them) – seven if you count the regime applying for copyright materials not covered by the exceptions – different parallel import regimes doesn’t make sense.
Of course, the other schemes in the Act creating open markets have been a resounding success as the onus of proving that the things imported are “parallel” (or gray) rather than counterfeit (or black?) invariably falls on the importer.