Yesterday we were passed a letter by the Society of Authors in response to our concerns about public lending rights and community run libraries . It was a letter they had received from Culture Minister Ed Vaizey about PLR. It said,
“Under the existing PLR legislation, PLR applies to loans of books from public libraries. Therefore, if community managed libraries still form part of a library authority’s statutory provision, then PLR still applies and authors are still entitled to payment. Only when a community run library falls entirely outside of an authority’s statutory provision does PLR not apply”
Contrary to what Ed Vaizey and the PLR Registrar say, Gloucestershire County Council have emailed us their “assurances” that, despite the fact the volunteer run libraries are entirely outside of the statutory provision, the volunteer run libraries are still covered by the Public Lending Right licence. However, they have rather bizarrely refused to grant us sight of any clarification they may have received from DCMS and PLR.
We assumed that to be making such assurances GCC MUST have had some clarification. Therefore, we were stunned to see this article in the local press this morning. In the article GCC give further “assurances” that the PLR issues have been resolved and that the same model is being run in other authorities. However, this “assurance” is contradicted by the PLR registrar who tells the reporter
“If it’s not part of the statutory service, it would seem as if PLR would not apply, although I will need to look into this situation as it’s the first arrangement like this that I have heard of.
“It’s a new situation and not as clear cut as some of the other volunteer libraries”
Which would suggest that GCC have NOT sought clarification or guidance on the issue and it is FAR from resolved! We have submitted a formal complaint to GCC asking that they either grant access to the clarification they have sought and received or to apologize for misleading the public before this issue has actually been addressed.
Will the DCMS, a publicly funded body, pay for the PLR fees of private libraries discarded by local authorities as GCC suggest? well, that remains to be seen!