‘Owning It‘ by Sharon Givoni is an incredible resource for local designers, writers, bloggers, photographers, and anyone else who is a maker of original creative work. It’s written in plain English, but it covers what every creative should know about the laws which protect their work. Frankly I can’t BELIEVE no one has written a book like this before now.
In a past life, Sharon worked for a top-tier Melbourne law firm in their IP department, but over time she developed a desire to offer creatively-minded clients a specialised service. In 2000, she started her own practice, Sharon Givoni Consulting, and hasn’t looked back.
‘In my own practice, I try to not just give clients answers to their questions and legal advice, but to actually help them to understand how the law works so they can be proactive about protecting their IP in the future’ says Sharon, who also frequently gives workshops and talks to professionals and students in creative industries, educating them about IP law in Australia and debunking some common myths and misunderstandings. ‘Owning it’ is a natural progression for Sharon, distilling her expertise into one easily accessible resource, with a focus on proactive strategies all creatives can employ to protect their work.
The book is published by Creative Minds, which is a brand new independent publishing house founded by Tess McCabe of the Creative Women’s Circle. The pair first met when Tess invited Sharon to present a seminar in Melbourne back in 2013. The event was a huge success, and both Sharon and Tess realised that misinformation about copyright and intellectual property law for the creative sector was rife, and that many people within Melbourne’s creative networks were regularly facing copyright infringement and contract breach issues. Despite this, no one single resource existed that educated this sector about their rights and responsibilities under Australian law, in a way that was easy to understand and not overwhelming.
Tess and Sharon have worked closely developing ‘Owning it‘ for the best part of two years. In response to demand, what started as a 200-page paperback has ballooned into a 560-page hardcover, full colour book, packed with real life case studies as well as images from over 140 Australian creatives such as Ken Done, Lucas Grogan, Lovestar, Bridget Bodenham, Anna Varendorff, and Rachel Castle to name a few.
‘A large focus of the book is about being proactive rather than reactive’ says Sharon. ‘While many other books talk about what you can do once a problem arises, Owning It also focuses on practical steps to prevent the problem arising in the first place’. The book is for every creative at any level – from hobbyists to professionals, freelancers to employees, students to small business employers, start-ups to industry stables. ‘I think there’s a shortage of plain English law books around for creative businesses’ says Sharon when asked why she wrote the book. ‘I feel there is a space in between complex and comprehensive text-books and overly short and simplified summaries. It’s a space that I hope that the book fills.’
On a personal level, I can attest to Sharon’s expertise and her rare ability to communicate legal terms in relatively plain English! A couple of years ago I was in a position of having a pretty hefty legal contract in front of me, which detailed a brand partnership The Design Files was asked to participate in. It was SCARY. I reached out to Sharon and she guided me through the process. She made a number of really smart revisions to the contract which I would never have picked up on without professional translation!
“Ultimately, our aim with this book is to encourage more creativity and innovation, as opposed to imitation, and see Australian creatives original work elevated to the level of respect it deserves” says Sharon. Hear hear!
Owning It by Sharon Givoni is priced at $75.00. Now that’s the most affordable legal advice you’ll ever be get! The book is officially released on April 9th, however pre-orders are available now – purchase online here.