Defend Public Lending Right

YOU HAVE UNTIL 30 July to respond to the Department of Culture Media and Sport consultation on the "transfer" of Public Lending Right to "another body". Currently, the office of Public Lending Right in Stockton-on-Tees does a very efficient job of distributing over £6 million a year in payments to authors whose books are lent via public libraries.

As part of its "bonfire of the quangos" the government wants to end Public Lending Right's autonomy and give its functions to some other organisation: they would prefer this to be the British Library.

The British Library gateway; © Matt Salusbury

Gateway to what? Can the British Library be persuaded to put authors' interests at the heart of its mission?

Unfortunately, the BL's track record for author-friendliness is not reassuring. See, for example, on the long-running saga of what happens to copyright fees paid for British Library Direct articles, and for its plans to "digitise a range of in-copyright material - with the express permission of the publishers" but with no mention of the numeous freelance creators who hold copyright in their to-be-digitised articles.

You may wish to raise these concerns, and the need for a fair system, in Questions 1 to 3 on page 12 of the DCMS consultation, which is at

Last modified: 06 Jun 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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