PLR extended to remote e-lending

23 February 2017

Following many years of campaigning, an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill to extend PLR to remote e-lending has been passed by the House of Lords.

Yesterday’s debate in The House of Lords on The Digital Economy Bill marked a major victory in our work to ensure that authors are fairly remunerated for their work, no matter where and in what format it is distributed.

The Lords have passed amendments effecting the SoA’s demands that authors of e-books and e-audio-books should be paid Public Lending Right when their books are lent out.

The amendment addresses the anomaly that sees authors receive a small payment (around 7p) via PLR each time physical copies of their books or audiobooks are loaned, but nothing when they are remotely lent in digital format. Crucially, it also includes wording to ensure that the balances currently in place to protect authors, publishers and booksellers remain.

The Earl of Clancarty made a point of highlighting our work, with ALCS and others, to campaign for these changes.

‘Credit should go to the groups and associations that have campaigned for this change, including the Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, which have both campaigned on this issue for some time.’

Commenting, novelist and SoA Council member Joanna Trollope said:

I am delighted - and relieved - that the Government has finally agreed to extend PLR to the remote lending of e-books. The previous situation was both an anomaly and an injustice, and it is excellent to know that the Digital Economy Bill will right a past wrong.

Biographer Michael Holroyd also welcomed the announcement:

‘This is excellent news. It cannot have been easy to achieve. For those of us who were engaged in the early battles for public lending right it is especially welcome to hear that e-lending can now be brought in line with physical lending. A triumph!’

Nicola Solomon, Society of Authors CEO, hailed the news as a perfect example of how change can be effected when interested parties (even those with different views) all come together to discuss concerns, agree terms and lobby for change:

‘While this is very much a victory for authors, I’ve been particularly pleased to see how the whole industry has worked together constructively to push for this change and iron out all the concerns. We have worked hard with booksellers, libraries, agents, publishers and the Government to find wording that takes everyone’s interests into account.’

We look forward to authors benefiting from PLR on remote e-lending from 2018.