SoA Letter on Future of Public Lending Right

Martin Reed

Martin Reed

Martin leads the SoA's Communications team. He oversees our strategic communications and campaign-based activities, including PR, social media, events and partnerships.

10 November 2015

The SoA has today written to express its concerns about Public Lending Right to Dominic Lake, Deputy Director of Arts, Libraries & Cultural Property, Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

On 9 November it was proposed that the rate per loan for PLR be raised from 6.66 pence to 7.67 pence per loan. While we welcome this increase we have several areas of concern which we urge the Government to address. We are arguing for:

Safeguarding and proper administration of PLR

The Government should ring-fence the (already meagre) PLR Fund in any future spending review. We are glad that recent efficiency savings have been effective but hope that cuts will not prevent continued work to obtain overseas PLR for UK authors and to encourage more countries to introduce similar schemes.

Extension of PLR to all volunteer-run libraries

More and more libraries are now run by volunteers and some of these fall outside the remit of PLR – meaning loans are not recorded and authors are missing out on remuneration. 

Remuneration of authors for all types of loans on all types of books

Libraries now remotely lend a significant number of ebooks and it is only fair that authors should be remunerated for these. While ebooks lent on site are subject to PLR this is of little consequence when nearly all are remotely loaned. We urge the Government to work with all interested parties to ensure that authors receive a fair share of licensing revenues for remote lending. We believe that an author’s receipts from ebook lending should equate to the total earnings the author would have received on a physical copy over the lifetime of the book from the combination of royalties on sale and PLR on every loan. The same considerations apply to the remote lending of digital audiobooks. Such a model could be an agreed solution which mirrors PLR but does not create a new exception, or a clear and narrowly-defined statutory solution extending PLR to ebooks while maintaining frictions (which all parties have agreed are essential) and the right of authors to control the licensing of their works.

Read the letter

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