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frequently asked questions

From 1 April 2012 you can apply for both the UK and Irish PLR schemes through the UK PLR office.

 

Please choose a question from the drop down list:

 

How do I apply for UK and Irish PLR?

It is not possible to register books via letter or email.  You can apply by any of the following options:

  • If you are applying for UK PLR, or for both UK and Irish PLR you can apply Online using our online registration service.  Unfortunately, the online service is not yet available if you are only applying for the Irish PLR scheme.  You will need to complete an application form (see below)
  • Download an application form
  • Contact us to request a form to be posted to you

Please note that you should not apply to register for PLR until after your books are published.  Incomplete applications (where all required information has not been provided) will be removed from our records after six months from the date of receipt.

You may also choose to synchronise your data for the UK and Irish schemes to ensure that the same personal and book details are held for both schemes.  See How do I synchronise my details for the UK and Irish Schemes? below for further details.

New applicants are required to provide two documents to support their application.  The documents must be originals (we cannot accept photocopies), and must contain the applicant’s name and current address.  Details regarding acceptable documents are provided during the application process.  Please note that documents must be provided regardless of whether you apply on a paper application form or online.  If you are registered for either the UK or Irish scheme and you opt to synchronise your data for each scheme, it is not necessary to provide your supporting documents again.

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How do I synchronise my details for the UK and Irish schemes?

When applying to register for PLR; either as a new applicant or when registering additional titles, you will be offered the opportunity to register for both the UK and Irish schemes.  If you opt to register for both schemes we will arrange to synchronise your data so that your personal details and book registrations are the same for each scheme.  Once your details are synchronised, it is not necessary for you to advise us which schemes you are registering for when making future applications, as we will automatically update your details for both schemes.

If you are already registered for either scheme, and you would like to synchronise your details and register for both schemes, it is not necessary for you to complete a New Application for Registration form or provide supporting documents again.  We will arrange to register your details with the other scheme using information which we hold on our records.

If you are already registered for either scheme and would like to synchronise your details, but do not need to register any further titles, you should complete an Application to Synchronise UK and Irish PLR Details form.

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How do I claim PLR payments?

For both systems in order to receive payments, you must first check that you and your books are eligible and then apply to register your published books for PLR.  First applications may not be made by the estate of a deceased author.  However, if an author registers during their lifetime the PLR in their books continues for up to 70 years after the date of their death. 

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I live outside the UK/Ireland, do I qualify for PLR?

To register for the UK PLR scheme, at the time of application you must have your only home or principal home in the UK or in any of the other countries within the European Economic Area (ie EC Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein).  However, please note that under the provisions of the PLR legislation authors resident in  the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not eligible to apply for PLR registration. This situation is under review by the government. Should the review lead to the extension of PLR eligibility to authors resident in these territories the PLR website will be updated to reflect this.   

If you have more than one home, your principal home is the one where you spent most time during the 24 months before your application.

Continuous residence after registration is not a requirement, however if you move outside the European Economic Area after registration you will not be able to register any new titles or editions for PLR. Books which are already on the Register will remain unaltered and you will continue to receive a statement each year.

To register for the Irish PLR scheme, you may be a resident or citizen of any of the countries within the EEA.  If you are not an EEA resident and are applying for Irish PLR as a citizen, you must provide a photocopy of your passport to confirm your citizenship within the EEA.

 Please note that it is not possible to register for UK PLR as an EEA Citizen.  The UK PLR scheme takes no account of nationality but requires applicants to be resident within the EEA to qualify for registration.

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How is loans data collected and payments calculated?

From the applications received for both systems, the PLR team compile separate computerised registers of contributors and books.

For UK PLR, a representative sample of book loans, consisting of all issues from selected public libraries in the UK, is recorded. This is then multiplied in proportion to total library lending to produce for each book an estimate of its total annual loans throughout the country.

Under the Irish PLR scheme  loans data is collected from all 32 public library authorities in the Republic of Ireland.

Both PLR systems are government funded.  After deduction of administrative costs, each  PLR fund is divided by the total loans of registered books to arrive at an annual ‘rate per loan’ figure. This forms the basis for calculating payments.

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I've just heard about PLR. Can I claim from the date my books were published?

For both UK and Irish PLR, payments are made annually on the basis of book loans data collected from public libraries over a twelve month period.

In the UK this twelve month period is 1 July to 30 June.  To qualify for payment for loans during this period, authors must register their books by the closing date of 30 June.

In the Republic of Ireland loans data is collected over the period 1 January to 31 December.  Books must be registered by the following 30 June to qualify for payment for loans during this period.

Neither PLR scheme allows for retrospective payments to be made for earlier years.

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Are audio-books and ebooks eligible for PLR?

The Digital Economy Act, passed in March 2010, cleared the way for the UK PLR legislation to be extended to include public library loans of audio-books (‘talking books’) and ebooks downloaded to library premises for taking away as loans (‘on-site’ ebook loans).

The UK PLR Scheme has been extended from 1 July 2014.  More background on how this will work and when you should apply can be viewed here.

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Can I claim PLR in other countries?

The UK PLR office administers PLR payments only for the UK and Irish PLR schemes.   However, UK and Irish authors are eligible for payments from the PLR systems operating in a number of other European countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Austria. These payments are administered by ALCS.

Eligible illustrators, photographers and visual artists can apply to claim their share of Dutch PLR payments through the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS). Further information is available from DACS.

Further details on PLR Schemes around the world can be found on the PLR International website.

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How do I know if I'm eligible?

To qualify for PLR in a book you should be named on its title page or be entitled to a royalty payment from the publisher (but you do not have to own the copyright). When two or more contributors are involved they must divide the PLR between them. This is done on the basis of percentage shares which they must agree before applying for registration.

Every contributor named on the title page of a book needs to be consulted when agreeing percentage shares and the agreed division should reflect contribution. Each eligible contributor may then submit a separate application.  The following types of contributor must be taken into account:

  • Writers - share to reflect contribution
  • Illustrators/photographers - share to reflect contribution even if paid by fee
  • Translators - share fixed at 30%
  • Original author - even if out of copyright or deceased a notional share should be allocated to reflect contribution
  • Adaptors/Re-tellers - 80% of the text share (after the illustrator's share is allocated) where the original author is named on the title page or 100% of the text share where no original author is named
  • Ghost writers - if named on the title page or entitled to royalties from the publisher or has an agreement with the author named on the title page
  • Editors/compilers/abridgers/revisers - share to reflect contribution.  Refer to section 2 of our Information Leaflet for guidelines.

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I use a writing name, which name should I register with?

You should apply for PLR using your real name.

You are required to provide two pieces of supporting documentation which must match the name on our records.

If you are applying on a paper application form, you may list your writing names under section F (book details). If you are applying via our online service, you should provide your writing name when you register your books via the ‘add new books’ menu option (once your account has been activated).

We will link your registered names and writing names together on our records.

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How do I agree shares?

Shares should be agreed between contributors prior to applying for PLR registration. Shares can be agreed either verbally or in writing (this includes e-mails). The percentage split should reflect individual contributions to a book, and the figures should be whole numbers (ie not 33.3%). If you cannot contact your co-author or illustrator, your publisher may be able to put you in touch. If not, the PLR office may be able to help with contact details.

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Can I claim 100% if another contributor is deceased or doesn't want to register?

No – you may only apply for a share which reflects your own contribution. If the other contributor is deceased or doesn’t want to register, you should leave aside a notional share to reflect their contribution.

If you have lost touch with the other contributor, you should make reasonable efforts to contact them (eg via the publisher) to agree shares.  If you still cannot contact them, you may register a share which reflects your contribution.  However, if the other contributor subsequently applies for different shares, we will have to remove your share until an agreement is reached.

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I am trying to trace an author, can you help?

In accordance with data protection legislation we are not able to provide you with contact details. However, if we have an address on our records we would be happy to forward a letter on your behalf. You may also wish to try the copyright tracing service WATCH (Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders).

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Do I need to apply for the 10 or 13 digit ISBN printed on my book?

The ISBN system changed from 10 a digit number to 13 a digit number in January 2007. Our system has been adapted to cope with both versions of the ISBN so please don’t worry if your book was published with a 10 digit ISBN.  You can still apply using 10 digit ISBNs – but they will be displayed on your confirmation prints and annual statements as the 13 digit equivalent.  Loans data from our sample libraries can also be handled in either format – so the calculation of your loans figures and payments will not be affected.

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Do I need to re-apply for books which I've already registered?

There is no need to re-apply for titles which are already on the register. You only need to apply for each new ISBN which is published. 

Books which are registered may be viewed and printed when logged into your online account.  If you do not have an online account, you may either apply for a login or contact us to request a full list of titles registered to be posted to you.

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Can I view books which are already registered ?

If you have an online account, books which are already registered may be viewed and printed from the `my registered books' menu option.

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Why are some of my books missing from my annual Statement?

Your Statement only shows titles which are eligible for the next payment round. Therefore only titles registered on or before 30 June will be listed. Any titles registered after this date will be shown on next year’s Statement.

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Is PLR subject to Income Tax and VAT?

For the UK PLR scheme, payments to UK residents will be made without deduction of tax.  You should include details of the sums received as income in your tax returns.  However, for non-UK residents, the PLR office is obliged to deduct tax before payment is made.

Payments to non-UK residents will be subject to tax at the basic rate, under Section 536 of the Income and Corporation Taxes Act 1988.

PLR Payments to authors resident overseas - applications and claims by non-residents under double taxation treaties

If you have income from a source in one country and are resident in another, you may be liable to pay tax in both countries under their tax laws. To avoid 'double taxation' in this situation, the UK has negotiated Double Taxation (DT) treaties with more than 100 countries.

If you are a resident of a country with which the UK has a double taxation treaty, you may be able to claim exemption or partial relief from UK tax on certain types of income from UK sources. The precise conditions of exemption or relief can be found in the text of the relevant treaty.

Relief from UK tax provided in a DT treaty is not automatic. Treaty benefits must be the subject of an application to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). Only the overseas person receiving the income can make a valid application.

As a resident of a DT treaty country who receives any of the following income from UK sources:

  • interest
  • royalties (PLR)
  • pensions and purchased annuities

you may be able to apply for relief from UK tax.

The relief available depends upon the terms of each DT treaty and HMRC decides whether an application is allowable. If it is, relief at source is normally allowed on future payments of the income. HMRC directs the payer (by issuing to the payer an exemption notice under Regulation 2 of the Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (General) Regulations 1970 (SI 1970 No. 488) as amended, to pay the income either:

  • without tax deducted
  • with tax deducted at a reduced rate of tax as laid down in the DT treaty

Where tax has already been deducted from previous payments of the income, the repayment of UK tax is made by the UK HMRC.

Further information and downloadable forms for each country can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk/international/personal-dta.htm. (Tel: 0845 300 0627 from UK or +44 135 535 9022 from overseas.)

For the Irish PLR scheme, payments will be made without deduction of tax regardless of your country of residence.  Any queries relating to tax and Irish PLR payments should be addressed to the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

PLR is outside the scope of VAT in both the UK and Ireland and should not be declared on VAT return forms.  In cases of any difficulty in relation to the UK scheme your local VAT offices should be asked to refer to VAT Administration Directorate (VAH2) quoting reference TL1158/82.

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How do I update my personal details?

Due to legal requirements to protect confidentiality, we are not permitted to discuss a registered owner’s affairs with anyone other than the registered owner identified in our records.  This policy applies unless we have received official documentation (such as a Power of Attorney) which allows a nominated individual to act on a registered owner’s behalf.

Please notify PLR of changes to personal details as soon as they occur.  You can update your address and bank details in writing. (Authors registered with the UK PLR scheme may also do this via the online service.)  We can also accept changes of address (but not bank) over the telephone, subject to verification being provided.  Please note that we are unable to accept changes to either address or bank details via email.

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What information is confidential?

In accordance with Data Protection legislation the PLR office confirms that the personal data which you provide will only be used for the purposes of administering PLR.  If you have provided an email address, we may send you emails occasionally updating you on PLR developments.  If you do not wish to receive these emails, you may contact us to opt out.

No information is disclosed to a third party.  However, the Inland Revenue is entitled to information about payments.

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How can I correspond with PLR?

You may contact us via the secure message area within your online account. Alternatively you may telephone PLR: +44(0)1642 604699 or email Author Services.

Our postal address is:

First Floor, Richard House, Sorbonne Close, Stockton-on-Tees TS17 6DA, United Kingdom

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I am having problems receiving emails from PLR

We are aware that some people have not been receiving emails from us, in particular those with btinternet and aol email accounts. Emails might not be received, even if you add us to your safe senders list. We would recommend that you provide us with an alternative email address if possible.

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How can I find out more about PLR?

The News section of this site is updated regularly with the latest news on our administration of both the UK and the Irish PLR schemes. Further background information on the Irish PLR system can be found on the Irish PLR website

Additionally, if you are registered for UK PLR, a newsletter is enclosed with your annual statement (each January).  This includes information regarding the previous year’s PLR operation and its costs, and details of any recent or forthcoming rule changes.  This information is also available in the Newsletters section of this site.  From 2013-14 the British Library’s Annual Report and Accounts will include a report on the PLR scheme and summary PLR accounts information (see www.bl.uk). 

An Annual Report on the Irish PLR system is available on the Irish PLR website.

If you provide us with an email address , you will also receive regular e-newsletters which provide useful information for users of both PLR systems such as registration reminders and important dates.

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