2 August 2021CopyrightAlex Baldwin

Thousands of authors ask UK to uphold IP exhaustion laws

Thousands of authors including Philip Pullman, Kazuo Ishiguro and Bernadine Evaristo, have signed a letter urging the government to maintain “strong” UK copyright laws in its departure from the European Union.

More than 2,600 authors co-signed the letter asking UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng not to allow foreign editions of books to be sold in the UK, claiming that it would have a “devastating impact” on the book industry.

The “Save Our Books” letter was published in the Sunday Times yesterday.

“Weakening the UK’s copyright laws would impair our ability to earn an income which would have a devastating impact on this country’s vibrant, world-renowned book industry. If writing becomes a profession only accessible to the wealthy, important stories will not be told,” said the authors.

In June, the UK government opened a consultation into the future for IP exhaustion, which sets parameters for parallel imports of IP-protected goods into the UK.

Currently, Authors are allowed to set prices for international markets and gives publishers oversight to blook unauthorised importing of books back into the UK, undercutting domestic sales.

The Publishers Association, representing UK publishers, claims that, if laws on parallel imports were weakened, domestic sales of books would be “disastrous”.

Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said: “This letter is a clear and urgent call from authors to avoid an outcome that weakens our copyright laws. Britain is a world leader in publishing and currently exports more books than any other country in the world.

“The wrong outcome would jeopardise the whole books industry and vandalise the UK’s cultural landscape. It would mean fewer books, by fewer authors, for fewer readers. We urge the government to save our books.”

The letter has also been signed by Sophie Kinsella, Cressida Cowell, Hilary Mantel, Adam Kay and Carol Ann Duffy.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox

Today’s top stories

Dabus: Australian judge says non-humans can be inventor

The G1/ 21 decision: first impressions

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

25 September 2018   The UK government’s latest guidance on a no-deal Brexit fails to clarify the future of IP rights exhaustion surrounding the European Economic Area, according to lawyers.
2 June 2014   A batch of changes to the UK’s copyright law has been approved and entered into force.