Early Quadrants on line

Quadrant magazine kicked off in 1956-57 as a pocket-sized quarterly. James McAuley edited the first 20 issues and these have now become collectors items. I am scanning those 20 issues and the task  is half done but work will have to stop while I go fishing in WA, off Carnarvon.

Due to my limited competence and resources the first 4 issues consist of big pdf files which take some time to load. The following 6 issues load faster but the picture is not so sharp, resembling the somewhat faded original  copy.



The guiding principles, from McAuley’s first editorial comment.

 To be Australian in our orientation, because we are interested in this country, its people, its problems, its cultural life, its liberties, and its safety;

To publish work of interest and merit on any topic without regard to the affiliations or repute of the author, the sole requirement being that the material should be worth reading;

To be guided, when an editorial attitude is called for with regard to questions of civil liberty or public standards, by the principles underlying the parliamentary institutions of this country and the Common Law – than which we know no better school of freedom and civility and prudence.

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25 Responses to Early Quadrants on line

  1. Don Arthur says:

    Good work Rafe!

  2. john walker says:

    Rafe, the following link might be of practical interest to you: http://www.nyls.edu/index.php?cID=2789


  3. paul walter says:

    If that’s a mission statment, I’d wonder how closely they have stuck to it against how far they’ve strayed from it.
    Are they really interested in “Australia” west of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Martin Place?
    Still, no-one knows better than me, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  4. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Manning Clark was on the editorial committee early on. An important role for (small c) conservatism at the time as the idea that culture (meaning to a substantial extent ‘high culture’) had an importance that transcended its utilitarian or moral content.

  5. Nicholas Gruen says:

    Rafe – Can I suggest that you inquire with the National Library whether they would be interested in helping with this project and in particular, upon being given copyright permission if it is necessary to be given, assisting in having the material digitised. It may also be relevant to the format in which you encode the pages. As you may know, they have a well developed program for digitising Australia’s historical newspapers and have moved on to magazines I think digitising the Women’s Weekly.

  6. Nicholas Gruen says:

    PS: I can introduce you to the people working on the project if you want me to.

  7. paul walter says:

    This Dr. Nicholas Gruen- he’s good value for money.

  8. Rafe says:

    Thanks Nicholas – great stuff can be found in Trove but the copypright situation precludes them and anyone else from putting Quadrant on line, apart from the Q people themselves.

    When I wanted to chase up press cover of the Orr case there seemed to be a cut-off just about the time the balloon went up, so Trove did not yield any reports on the real drama, possibly a mention of early warning signs, or maybe only Orr’s appointment. It fell in a gap between the Trove project and the digital age!

  9. Nicholas Gruen says:

    But who owns the copyright – what’s stopping them relinquishing the copyright or providing a licence to the NLA?

  10. paul walter says:

    A gentle allusion to what some would uncharitably surmise as a process of Revisionism?

  11. john walker says:

    Nicholas “who owns the copyright”is generally a very complex question, especially in the case of something like Quadrant which contains a lot of ‘inclusions’ . How something published before the wide spread extensions of copyright terms in the 70s and onward, would stand in current law is beyond me.

    The Copyright Agency limited which is mainly Australia’s statutory copyright for education purposes organisation could help, In our experience they are professional and helpful.

    The issues of scanning old books for digital books has been over the past years one of the hottest , most problematic areas globally

    This edition of the New york law Schools Journal D is for Digitize http://www.nyls.edu/user_files/1/3/4/17/49/1080/55-1%20Final%20TOC-Masthead%2011.17.10.pdf
    Provides a good introduction to the issues seen through the lenses of the (failed) Google books Settlement

  12. Nicholas Gruen says:

    To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge, Copyright Agency Limited is a micro-economic nightmare.

    Do you know their administration costs 30% of the revenue they collect (usually taking it off one impecunious sector to give it in dribs and drabs to another – with a few high earners thrown in) and (and I think the 30% does not include the costs of administration to the beneficiaries – artists and publishers – and the victims – educational and other institutions.

    Do you know CAL goes running round trying to collect royalties from schools when teachers reproduce websites that are there for free downloading, but if they don’t have cc on them – CAL is in for its chop. The whole thing sounds absurd from start to finish.

  13. john walker says:

    Nicholas, CAls costs( as is with most of these collective management ‘things’) depend on how you calculate the cost – cost as a percentage of gross collections, or cost as a percentage of money delivered.
    These sort of things are intrinsically expensive to run and should always be a last resort. They need strong community need and clear community benefit.
    They Exist mainly to facilitate the availability of material for education . As actual individual access to (and thus usage) of digital material is relatively easy to individually calculate and license (unlike the use of photocopiers)the continuing need for this sort of statutory compulsory collective licensing , for education purposes, is open to question.

  14. Nicholas Gruen says:

    John, virtually all of the material they charge for would be available in any event. In fact I’d be interested if you could name a class of things which wouldn’t be available. I can name plenty of things that would be available. Newspaper articles, broadcasts of TV and radio, open access websites, textbooks. The whole thing is a massive boondoggle, and as ever, the beneficiaries are not the artists, but the publishers and the bureaucrats.

  15. john walker says:

    As far as I know they largely charge for books ,and largely pass the money on to publishers, which was, in the days when publishing and distribution was capital intensive , fair enough. As best as i know they do not operate a blanket license, ‘collecting’ for entities that have their own transaction arrangements, but I could be wrong.

    I would not disagree about the increasingly marginal utility of compulsory collectivization of right-holders.

  16. Nicholas Gruen says:

    My point is that if they are books, they’re charging for photocopies of sections of books. Virtually all the books would exist with or without the scraps from CAL. And the newspaper, magazine, radio and TV content certainly would.

  17. john walker says:

    Nicholas, I don’t disagree.
    However, the most basic of all copy right powers is the individual right holder’s power to refuse consent to usage, as he or she sees fit. The reason for the restrictions of exclusive individual rights to ‘a mere right to receive remuneration’ from CAL, was because many rightholders would otherwise refuse to supply material for educational photocopying all together. The restriction of individual rights that compulsory collective management entails is solely for public benefit. And if this is no longer the case, then there is no justification for it to continue. I would suggest you look up a sub section of the Berne Convention, called the Stockholm Convention, which details a three step test for the limited social situations where restrictions of exclusive rights can be justified.

  18. Nicholas Gruen says:

    You can regard it as your most basic right, but I’m afraid I don’t agree.

    If you want a right I think it should be the right to commercially exploit your work to some reasonable extent that does not degrade others basic rights, freedom or economic efficiency in some way that is out of proportion to the good it might do you.

  19. john walker says:

    Nicholas Creation is labor , is there a more fundamental right than the right to refuse your labor?

  20. john walker says:

    I do realise that the collectives have turned copyright into a cartel like thing.
    They are big things obscuring the reality.

    At least %60+ of Australia’s artists do not use collective management, they do it themselves.
    For me, the right to not exercise copyright is economically the best use of copyright , for me.
    Copyright is an individual right for a good reason, the economic situations and needs of individual creatives are very individual.

    And as for the buyer ,it is a free market – you can go to the shop down the road.

  21. Nicholas Gruen says:


    @ 19 I think you’re being a bit melodramatic.

    No-one is forcing anyone to labour. The issue is the terms on which one person might benefit from the work others have done.

    When it comes to the production of rival goods (corporeal things) then the principle that you own the fruits of your labour is fine though of course even it can be taken too far – I think it’s subordinate to the obligation to pay tax for instance and most people would.

    But if we didn’t benefit from the incorporeal spin-offs from people’s labours and ideas, – if we didn’t copy each others good ideas – we’d still be living in caves. That’s how our species prospers.

    When you paint a painting, no-one makes you paint it. The corporeal object is yours to sell, hang on your wall or destroy as you see fit. The image is more complex. It’s a non-rival good. There is no regime of which I’m aware anywhere in the world (other than arguably trade marks, though even there you must pay licence fees to the government) that gives anyone an unfettered, indefinite right over the incorporeal aspects of their creation. If it’s a technical idea it’s patentable, and the property like right you have lasts 20 years. If you want copyright protection it lasts a lot longer – indeed for a very long time, but not forever. So even here there are limits.

    If it’s a scientific idea – say F=ma or the second law of thermodynamics – no dice. You can’t patent it. If you earn your living by the sweat of your brow as a chef and you come up with a new recipe, you can sell the dish it in your restaurant, you can try keeping the recipe secret, but if someone successfully copies it, that’s your bad luck. They can also publish your recipe.) If you’re a policy consultant – like me – anyone can copy anything you can’t keep secret (and here’s the rub, you can’t sell the idea without telling the prospective buyer what it is).

    And on it goes. There is no absolute right in the incorporeal aspects of your work, though there are regimes like IP and the law of confidentiality to allow economic exploitation. The former (IP) regimes are absurdly costly and one could generate nearly as much and in many cases more benefits to creators by crafting them tightly around their economic rationales and minimising the costs to others rather than building them around slogans about creators (or anyone else’s) inalienable rights.

  22. john walker says:

    Nicholas @21
    I’m not talking about absolute rights. However, the kind of compulsory, extended collective licencing that is favoured in EU countries removes from individual sellers and individual buyers the right of negotiation over price, and removes from sellers the right to refuse to sell to people whose behaviour disturbs you. It also results in the same price being paid for everything, irrespective of merit. As for incorporeal vs corporeal, that is a body/soul type distinction. Whilst it has some pragmatic usefulness, it can be very misleading. Ultimately, they are one and the same thing.

  23. john walker says:

    On reflection;
    I think We are talking at cross purposes, sorry.

    Interestingly, the sweeping patent law reforms introduced just weeks before the Great Exposition of 1851 were explicitly aimed at encouraging inventors to make their ‘trade secret inventions’ publicly available for the purpose of copying for education– public improvement. The new law did so by protecting against copying for commercial gain.

  24. john walker says:

    Via the owl

    Knowledge Is Property: Looking at Exhibits and Patents in 1851
    Author(s): Louise Purbrick
    Source: Oxford Art Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2 (1997), pp. 53-60
    Published by: Oxford University Press
    Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1360669

    This article examines the problem of ownership of
    knowledge at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It relates
    events in 1851: the anxiety about the Great Exhibition
    opening, the passing of the Protection of Inventions
    Act and the sitting of a parliamentaryS elect Committee
    on patent law reform. Henry Cole is the key figure
    throughout; he was an advocate of art education and
    patent law reform. Patent law is part of my midnineteenth-
    centuryh istory of knowledgea nd property
    and their public display. I also try to say something
    about looking. As a means of acquiring knowledge
    and hence property at exhibitions, looking becomes
    I: An Exhibition
    The problems of putting private property on public
    display, and specifically of exhibiting inventions, were
    immediately obvious to those who had organized the
    Great Exhibition. Henry Cole recalled how:
    Almosta s soona s the Exhibitionw as announcede veryo ne
    was sensibleo f the manifesta bsurdityo f invitinge xhibitors
    to displayt he fruitso f theiri ntellectuael xertionsw, hilsta t
    the same time they should be subjected thereby to pillage.7

  25. john walker says:

    God knows what went on !
    Quote from Cole should read

    “Almost as soon as the Exhibition was announced every one
    was sensible of the manifest absurdity of inviting exhibitors
    to display the fruits of their intellectual exertions whilst at
    the same time they should be subjected thereby to pillage.”

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