The Society of Authors is continuing to press culture minister Ed Vaizey to clarify his stance on Public Lending Right and volunteer-run libraries, with SoA general secretary Nicola Solomon telling Vaizey that his responses to her questions have thus far been "cursory and incomplete".
In a letter sent to the culture minister today (21st August), Solomon has demanded "a full and reasoned answer" to six specific questions regarding volunteer libraries and PLR, centred on what she calls "legitimate concerns" that the government is currently in breach of its obligations under the Rental and Lending Directive.
Referring to previous correspondence with the culture minister, Solomon stated the SoA was "surprised that, despite several requests, we have only received cursory and incomplete answers” to their concerns.
Solomon said: “It is clearly unsatisfactory and unfair that all libraries other than public libraries should be exempt from remunerating authors for loans. In my previous letter we called on the government immediately to rectify this by making appropriate regulations... Please confirm that the government will make such regulations or explain how authors will be remunerated for the rental and lending of their works from volunteer
In the letter, Solomon also says she is “delighted” that the government will undertake an industry-wide review of library e-book lending, and questions the minister on when the process will start and what form it will take.
The latest letter follows a string of communications between the two parties, discussing concerns about the application of PLR. In his last letter to the Society, Vaizey said: “Under current legislation, community libraries which are not conducted for profit, and do not fall within the PLR scheme, do not breach copyright when they lend books and further they do not have to remunerate authors when they lend their books.”