Cooking for Copyright - librarians intent on liberating Australia's historical treasures

Did Captain Cook’s crew survive and thrive through judicial consumption of carrot marmalade? 

A handwritten recipe found amongst Cook’s papers promises ‘one of the best Remedies against the Scurvy, it will be of the greatest use in long Sea Voyages’. It goes on to detail everything from selection of carrots to the preservation of marmalade during a two year sea voyage.

It is just one of the treasures hiding in library and archive collections, that librarians are campaigning to be able to share with the nation.  Under the hashtag #cookingforcopyright infringing biscuits, cakes and marmalade are being shared by librarians in an effort to change the archaic law that means that unpublished materials are perpetually in copyright.

‘We’d like the same copyright terms for unpublished works as for published works (70 years after the death of the creator). Then our libraries, museums and historical societies could put these treasures on the web for family historians, researchers, and everyone else who is fascinated by our social history.’ Sue McKerracher, spokesperson for FAIR, and CEO of the Australian Library and Information Association explains.

FAIR has delved into library and museum collections across Australia and posted more than 20 handwritten recipes to its website – effectively contravening the current copyright law. It’s asking Australians to cook one of these recipes, and the results have been rolling in.

‘These are treasures that belong to the nation’ says Trish Hepworth of the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.

‘Kids researching WWI shouldn’t have to physically visit Canberra to get to the Australian War Memorial in order to see the letters and records of our soldiers. We have the technological capacity to make these materials available to people from Broome to Hobart, we just need the law to catch up.’

And the verdict on carrot marmalde? Well, it looks okay to us

You can join FAIR and librarians, archivists and curators in cooking for copyright on Friday 31 July



*Carrot Marmalade Recipe written by Baron Storsch, from letterbook of Captain James Cook

*Carrot marmalade, made by (and photo from) Sarah Treweek who you can follow @SarahTreweek on twitter



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