There has been progress on this issue but the current obstacle is the need for a minor legislative change to allow it to proceed. The IWU has set aside a campaign budget for legal advice and advocacy and hopes to move this forward to resolution in 2022.
To: Minister Heather Humphreys
Grant Public Lending Right on eBooks
Increase the rate of Public Lending Right (PLR) payments to writers whose works are borrowed through the public library system and include eBook borrowing under the scheme.
Why is this important?
As writers in receipt of payments from the Public Lending Remuneration scheme (PLR), which provides that writers receive a compensatory payment for each time their works are loaned from the public libraries, we consider that the present situation of remuneration needs to be improved. This is especially so in the present difficult situation of Covid19 restrictions in which physical book sales have collapsed. There are also the difficulties for writers (and other artists) with regard to book launches, readings and other events which now, under the restrictions, are not possible, thereby leading to a serious loss of income.
The current PLR rate of €0.0412 per loan has not been increased since its introduction in 2008. EU legislation states “PLR must provide authors an adequate living and must not be merely symbolic”, yet collecting bodies consider the rate in Ireland “derisory”. This matter should be visited as a matter of urgency with the representatives of the writing community, such as the Irish Writers Union.
We also believe that eBook loans should be included in the data for PLR, given the current COVID crisis and the resulting enormous surge in eBook loans compared to physical loans. How can fair remuneration under PRL be calculated for 2020 if eBook loans are excluded.
There is also the anomaly vis a vis the UK, whereby although there is a bi-lateral arrangement enabling UK authors to benefit from Irish PLR, and Irish authors to avail of UK PLR, there is currently a disparity between how each country’s payments are calculated. This anomaly should be addressed as soon as possible in the interests of fairness.
We hope you will give this matter your immediate attention.