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Public Lending is alright

4 July 2012

TEN writers' organisations, including the CRA, replied on 4 July to the government consultation on the handling of Public Lending right - saying "leave it alone". You have until 30 July to add your voice.

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. The current consultation lists five options:

  1. Transferring the PLR statutory functions to the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society
  2. Transferring PLR statutory functions to Arts Council England
  3. Administering the PLR in-house in DCMS
  4. Continue with the administration of PLR in its current form
  5. Transferring PLR statutory functions to British Library

It rules out options 1 to 3 - 1 would require ALCS to become a quango itself, for example - and prefers 5. The letter from the ten organisations says:

We have carefully studied the DCMS consultation document on the transfer of Public Lending Right functions from the existing body at Stockton-on-Tees and find ourselves unable to accept the Government's preferred option of transferring the administration to the British Library.

We do not believe that all options have been fairly put before the public. Nor do we believe that there will be significant long-term efficiency savings associated with Option 5.

We strongly recommend Option 4. The Registrar and his small experienced staff are presently releasing considerable efficiency savings and we are confident that, with the assistance of our organisations, they will continue to do so in the future.

We fear that any other option will not be in the long-term interests of authors.

You may wish to reply in similar terms - in your own words, of course - especially if you have words or pictures published in a book.

A PDF of the letter is here.

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