1 May 2018
You will remember that, after strong lobbying by the SoA, legislation to extend PLR to ebooks was finally passed last year. However we are concerned that the Government has not taken the necessary action to implement the change. An additional piece of secondary legislation needs to be passed, which the Government committed to completing by 1 July 2018, so that the first in arrears payments could be made by February 2020.
Since then Ministers and civil servants have gone quiet on the issue, and we are concerned that we are running out of time for the legislation to be passed and the reform implemented by 1 July 2018.
We are therefore calling on our members to write to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We have drafted a template letter below, but feel free to edit and personalise this as you see fit. Please send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org and copy in email@example.com.
The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Dear Mr Hancock,
I am writing to ask you to ensure that there is no delay in implementing the extension of Public Lending Right (PLR) to e-books.
Legislation to extend PLR to e-books was passed as part of the Digital Economy Act 2017. As an author [or illustrator/editor/poet etc as appropriate] and a member of the Society of Authors, I wholeheartedly welcome this reform. PLR provides me with a modest but important payment (around 7p) each time one of my books is borrowed from a public library, and it is right that legislation has caught up with advances in technology and PLR extended to e-books.
However I am concerned to learn that the Government has not yet taken the necessary action to implement the change. As you’ll be aware, an additional piece of secondary legislation needs to be passed for the change to come into effect. The Government committed to completing this by 1 July 2018, so that the first in arrears payments could be made by February 2020.
So far no such secondary legislation has been laid before Parliament. I am concerned that we are running out of time for this legislation to be passed and the reform implemented by 1 July 2018.
I know that you were the Minister responsible for taking the Digital Economy Act through Parliament, in your previous role as Minister of State for Digital and Culture. At the Society of Authors’ summer party last year, you emphasised your commitment to supporting authors’ rights, including through the extension of PLR to e-books.
I would therefore be grateful if you could update me on the progress that has been made in implementing this change, and commit to ensuring that it comes into force by 1 July 2018.
I look forward to hearing from you.