22 May 2018

While this was in press the government announced a consultation on the required regulations. Organisations representing authors have until 24 May to respond. We do not believe it is necessary or useful for individual authors to respond.

Protect your Public Lending Right payments

MANY JOURNALISTS write books, and many are lent by libraries, and you can get payments compensating you for this from the new permanent web address of www.bl.uk/plr - but the system has fallen behind the times and does not cover lending of ebooks. Of course these are an increasingly popular way of distributing texts and there's nothing wrong with libraries lending time-limited and copy-protected ebooks so long as the law does catch up.

The Society of Authors has written to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, reminding him that the government promised to fix this by 1 July 2018 - and we call on you to add your voice: write to the Minister care of enquiries@culture.gov.uk and copy us in at plr@londonfreelance.org if you please.

Below is the SoA template letter: do adapt it to make your own case.

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
By email

Dear Matt Hancock,

I am writing to ask you to ensure that there is no delay in implementing the extension of Public Lending Right (PLR) to e-books.

Legislation to extend PLR to e-books was passed as part of the Digital Economy Act 2017. As an author [or illustrator/editor/poet etc as appropriate] and a member of the Society of Authors, I wholeheartedly welcome this reform. PLR provides me with a modest but important payment (around 7p) each time one of my books is borrowed from a public library, and it is right that legislation has caught up with advances in technology and PLR extended to e-books.

However I am concerned to learn that the Government has not yet taken the necessary action to implement the change. As you'll be aware, an additional piece of secondary legislation needs to be passed for the change to come into effect. The Government committed to completing this by 1 July 2018, so that the first in arrears payments could be made by February 2020.

So far no such secondary legislation has been laid before Parliament. I am concerned that we are running out of time for this legislation to be passed and the reform implemented by 1 July 2018.

I know that you were the Minister responsible for taking the Digital Economy Act through Parliament, in your previous role as Minister of State for Digital and Culture. At the Society of Authors' summer party last year, you emphasised your commitment to supporting authors' rights, including through the extension of PLR to e-books.

I would therefore be grateful if you could update me on the progress that has been made in implementing this change, and commit to ensuring that it comes into force by 1 July 2018.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Signed...