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Public Lending Right

Public Lending Right (PLR) is the right of authors and other rightsholders to receive payment for the free use of their works in libraries.

The first country to establish a PLR system was Denmark in 1947. Currently, 35 countries have operational PLR systems, and a further 30 countries, economies or territories around the world are currently working towards setting up a PLR system. Every year, new countries establish their own PLR system and/or introduce the legal basis for PLR in their legislation.

PLR is an essential income line for many authors, in addition to the royalties that they receive from book sales and the reproduction of their works. In many countries, PLR is managed by RROs. IFRRO has supported PLR from the start and is today playing a leading role in the global advocacy for PLR. An important part of that work is achieved, externally, through the close collaboration between IFRRO and Public Lending Right International (PLRI) and, internally, via IFRRO’s Public Lending Right Forum (IPF).

For further information about PLR, you can contact the IFRRO Secretariat (here) and PLRI (here).

PLR International (PLRI)

PLR International brings together countries with PLR systems to facilitate the exchange of best practice. It also provides advice and technical assistance to countries looking to set up PLR systems for the first time.

PLRI is governed by a Steering Committee composed of four author representatives, two publisher representatives, and two IFRRO representatives. The Chair of the Steering Committee is Ms. Barbara Hayes (IAF). The list of Steering Committee members can be found here.

Important activities of PLRI include the publication of materials explaining PLR, managing different databases about PLR systems around the world (see the list of established and developing PLR schemes), global advocacy for PLR, in particular at WIPO, and organising PLR events and in particular the biennial international PLR conference.

PLRI’s activities are coordinated by the IFRRO Secretariat and by Stichting Leenrecht (Netherlands). To contact them, please click here.

IFRRO’s Public Lending Right Forum (IPF)

For the purpose of providing practical information and assistance to IFRRO members who are interested in PLR, IFRRO has established a PLR Forum (IPF). The Chair of the IPF is Mr. Kurt van Damme (Reprobel, Belgium).

The IPF meets twice a year. It enables RROs, authors and publishers to discuss recent trends, successes, and challenges in administering PLR schemes. The inclusion of e-books in PLR schemes, the development of PLR systems across the world, the funding of PLR, and the increased cooperation between authors, publishers, RROs, libraries and governments on PLR issues are among the issues frequently discussed.

IFRRO’s members administering and/or having an interest in PLR schemes are:

Resources about PLR

A number of relevant documents, publications and infographics can be found on the PLRI website, including:

  • An Introductory Guide to PLR
  • A Charter of PLR Best Practice
  • Frequently Asked Questions on PLR

All available in English, French and Spanish.

Other recent articles and materials of interest include the following:

  • An article about “The public lending right and what it does” in the WIPO magazine (issue of June 2018)
  • A letter of the British Copyright Council supporting the statement made by Sierra Leone concerning the Public Lending Right at WIPO (October 2019)
  • An article about “Public Lending Right: A life saver?” by the Irish Writers’ Union, a member of EWC (February 2020)