The UK Public Lending Right office is part of the British Library and is based in Stockton-on-Tees. The Head of PLR leads the PLR team who provide Author Services and Corporate Services. The PLR Organisational Chart is available in pdf format.
The British Library receives funding for PLR from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In 2013-14 PLR funding amounted to £6.9 million, of which £6.1 million was distributed to authors. Funding for 2014-15 has been set at £6.6 million.
The British Library is advised by a PLR Advisory Committee details of which can be found within the PLR committees section of this site.
In administering the PLR Scheme, the British Library has set itself a number of core objectives. Further information can be found within PLR objectives.
A four-year Funding Agreement with DCMS sets out PLR's strategic priorities and the contribution that it will make towards meeting DCMS objectives. The current Funding Agreement covers the period 2011-15 and can be viewed under Publications.
PLR was established by the Public Lending Right Act 1979 which gave British authors a legal right to receive payment for the free lending of their books by public libraries. Under the Act funding is provided by Central Government and payments are made to eligible authors in accordance with how often their books are lent out from a selected sample of UK public libraries. To qualify for payment authors must apply to the PLR office which maintains a register of eligible authors and books. The Act established PLR as an intellectual property right, entirely separate from copyright.
The principles of PLR were set out in the 1979 primary legislation. The 1982 Scheme sets out more detailed rules for the operation of PLR in the UK such as which authors and books are eligible, how many libraries should be included in the sample providing loans data to the PLR office, and how the amount payable each year to authors should be calculated.
For thirty years before the passing of the 1979 Act British authors campaigned for recognition of their right to receive payment for the free public use of their books through the public library system. By the early 1970s the PLR campaign was given added momentum with the emergence of the Writers Action Group (WAG). Conscious of the fears of many people, particularly librarians, that the government might make PLR a charge on library users, and thus threaten the principle of free public access to libraries, the WAG campaign focused on the need for a centrally-funded scheme. Eventually, and in spite of opposition from a determined minority of MPs, PLR became law in 1979. There followed the appointment of a Registrar, introduction of the Scheme in 1982, and the establishment of the new PLR office in Stockton-on-Tees in the north of England. £2 million was allocated initially by the government for PLR funding. The fund increased to £7.6 million in 2006.
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