Provisions to extend PLR to e-books and e-audiobooks were originally contained in the Digital Economy Act 2017, but further secondary legislation was required before the changes could be implemented. After many months of silence from the Government, a consultation on the proposals was launched at the start of May this year. This followed a request from the Society of Authors to our members to write to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock urging him to proceed with the reforms, and over 350 of them did so in the space of just a few days.
We have now been informed by DCMS officials that the necessary statutory instruments have been signed by the Minister, extending PLR to include remote lending of e-books and e-audiobooks. The changes will come into force from the beginning of July, in line with the start of the new PLR year (1 July to 30 June). This means that e-lending will be reflected in the PLR for 2018/19 year onwards.
Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, said:
We are thrilled that the extension of PLR to e-lending has finally been given the green light. PLR is a vital source of income for many authors, and it is only right that the same rules apply to e-lending as to the lending of physical books.
Today’s announcement follows years of lobbying and campaigning alongside authors, booksellers, libraries, agents and publishers. All this work has finally reached fruition, and I know that authors will be delighted by the news.