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Turnbull memoir pirated within the Prime Minister’s Office

6/01/2020 4:50 PM
Turnbull memoir pirated within the Prime Minister’s Office

Australian publishing company Hardie Grant has taken action on piracy after their new release, A Bigger Picture, the memoir from ex-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was found to be illegally sent as an e-book prior to publication.

Hardie Grant was made aware of a pirated copy on Saturday evening when an e-book version was found to be circulated to government employees via email.

The specific email address sending the copy apparently came from inside the Prime Minister’s Office, and eventually reached people who reported that an illegal edition was making the rounds.

By this time, the pirated copy had been shared many times. One email claimed that a top aide within the Morrison government had sent it to ‘millions’ of others.

A few hours after being alerted to this illegal version Hardie Grant’s law firm, HWL Ebsworth, sent a cease and desist notice to an involved staff member in the Prime Minister’s Office.

The circulation of the pirated book has received widespread criticism from the publishing industry.

‘Everyone in government, and especially anyone with a leadership role, has an obligation not to just observe the law, but to uphold it’, said Michael Gordon Smith, the Chief Executive of the Australian Publishers Association.

‘The business of publishing depends on the law of copyright. It established the property rights that allow authors and publishers to sell their products and get paid for their work,’ he added.

‘Piracy is a problem for bestselling books and our lawyers have taken immediate action to make it clear we intend to take action against the person seemingly distributing A Bigger Picture widely and illegally, as well as any site sharing the file,’ said the CEO of Hardie Grant, Sandy Grant.

This breach of copyright has come at an increasingly difficult time, given the effect of COVID-19 on the publishing industry. 

Independent bookstores are being tested, and have had to adapt to orders via telephone and online services, whereas some have been forced to close.

Publishers are also suffering reductions in revenue, and seeing reduced work hours among their teams or the standing down of staff. Authors are finding it difficult to promote their books, as they can no longer attend book tours. Many writer’s festivals have also been cancelled.

Robbie Egan, President of The Australian Booksellers Association, also condemned the piracy.

‘The Australian Booksellers Association condemns the piracy of books. Copyright provides protection for the work authors do, and breaches of author copyright undermine their income.’

‘The illegal distribution of … A Bigger Picture damages all authors as bestselling books support publishers and booksellers to produce and sell the work of a wide array of lesser-known writers.’

The e-book version of A Bigger Picture was officially released yesterday, as well as the hard copy book.