A Public Lending Right program is one which pays authors for having works in public libraries.
Fifteen countries have a PLR program, and others are considering adopting one. Canada, the United Kingdom, all the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand currently have PLR prgrams. There is ongoing debate in France and the United States to implement one. There is also a move towards having a European wide PLR program administered by the EU.
And it's good to know there's an ongoing debate in the United States about this. That this is the first I've heard of it just indicates that I'm not paying attention.
I mean, there was a mention on Crooked Timber last September. In a comment. In a discussion of Micropayments and their discontents.
And in the report on the 1999 Ottawa conference, PLR International Network says:
A particular theme of the conference was PLR in the Americas. To date only Canadian authors have been successful in getting lending rights recognised. Kay Murray of the Writers Guild in New York described how PLR has made little headway in the United States and is not currently a priority issue with American writers.
And then in the report on the 2003 Oslo conference (yes, the date at the top confused me too. . .), er, we're not mentioned at all, actually, but there was promising news from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
. . .
We have nuclear weapons, you know.
So do the French, but:
14 July 2003
ITíS OFFICIAL - PLR HAS ARRIVED IN FRANCE
Legislation to recognise the right of authors and publishers to receive payment for the lending out of their books from libraries was finally adopted by the French Senate on 10 June. The Senators accepted the wording of the legislation as passed by the lower house on 2 April. The new PLR system is expected to be in pace by the autumn. A PLR fund of 20 million Euros is to be set up and to be divided equally between publishers and authors. There is also provision for a social welfare fund for authors.
So much for Fact-Index.com. . . the bit about the EU is out of date as well.
And you can add Slovenia to the list of countries that have a program.
. . .
Did I mention the nuclear weapons?
Update: Someone with greater mad writing and editing skills than I want to modify the Wikipedia entry on Public Lending Rights, based on recent developments reported at PLR International? Yes, I know I could do it, and that's the entire point, but have you read some of the entries here? I prefer to keep my suckiness to myself, thank you very much.