Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

ASA: government ‘failed to adequately respond’ to calls for PLR/ELR digital expansion

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is calling on its membership to contact their local members as part of a campaign to have ebooks included in the PLR/ELR scheme, after the federal government ‘failed to adequately respond’ to its calls for the lending payment schemes to be expanded to digital formats.

The ASA said that ‘given that Covid-19 has resulted in substantially increased ebook and audiobook borrowing, the case for digital lending rights has never been more compelling’, but that in response to its most recent request to prioritise the issue, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher had ‘merely committed to monitoring the situation with no timeline for change’.

‘We have patiently and cooperatively worked with the Office for the Arts and feel so disappointed by the lack of commitment to change,’ said ASA CEO Olivia Lanchester in a statement.

The PLR/ELR payment schemes pay authors when their physical books are borrowed from a library, in compensation from lost royalties. ‘Particularly for our digital-only writers who are currently locked out of the PLR/ELR scheme, fixing this anomaly feels overdue,’ said Lanchester. ‘We appreciate that ebook licensing to libraries is complex but nothing that couldn’t be solved by setting a criteria for eligibility.’

‘We call on our members to join our campaign to request that the implementation of Digital Lending Rights be made a priority now,’ said the ASA.

The ASA also said it was ‘deeply concerned’ at the absence of representatives from Australian literature on the recently announced Creative Economy Taskforce, part of the government’s $250 million Covid-19 rescue package for the arts, and was contacting Fletcher, to request the inclusion of a representative from Australian literature on the taskforce.



Category: Local news