2011 Scheme changes
On 18 April 2011 the Minister for the Arts, the Hon Simon Crean MP, approved changes to the Public Lending Right Scheme 1997 and the Educational Lending Right Policies and Procedures.The Public Lending Right (PLR) and Educational Lending Right (ELR) schemes have been in operation for 35 and 11 years respectively, with the last substantial changes to the schemes made in 1997 for PLR and 2004 for ELR.
The changes are designed to improve administration of the schemes and to increase consistency between them.
The changes to the scheme give the Minister for the Arts the capacity to set and change the minimum and maximum payment amounts applying to the PLR and ELR schemes.
Minimum payment amounts apply in each of the PLR and ELR schemes. A creator or publisher will only receive a PLR or ELR payment if the total amount due to them for all eligible books claimed under that scheme is above this threshold.
The current minimum payment amount of $50 was set for the PLR scheme in 1997 and for ELR in 2001 and has not been increased since then.
The current minimum payment amount of $50 for both PLR and ELR will rise to $100 from 2012–13 to reflect rising administrative costs.
The Minister has not yet made a determination under the provision to set a maximum payment amount. Any changes under this provision will not apply to payments made in the 2011–12 or 2012–13 program years.
Eligibility for claims
Many titles currently claimed with PLR and ELR do not result in a payment, either because the titles are claimed many years after the books were published or because the books are held in insufficient numbers in public or educational lending libraries. This is inconvenient for claimants and adds to the overall cost of administering the schemes.
Many of the recent changes will reduce the number of claims that are unlikely to result in payment. These changes are:
Titles must be claimed within five years of the date of publication
Books may only be claimed up to 5 years (60 months) from the date of publication of the first edition and any subsequent edition. Therefore claims submitted for the 2012-13 program must be published after 2006 and before the 31 December 2011.
Evidence shows that six or more years after publication, the majority of titles do not score highly enough in the annual surveys of public or educational lending libraries to result in a payment. Introducing this time limit maximises the likelihood that a title claim will result in a payment to the claimant. If a new edition of an existing book is published, a claim may be submitted up to five years from the date of publication of the new edition.
Books designed for a single use are not eligible
Books designed for a single use, such as diaries, colouring-in books and children’s activity books are unlikely to be held by public and educational lending libraries in sufficient quantities to result in a payment to claimants. These types of books are now excluded from both the PLR and ELR schemes.
The capacity to introduce a minimum print run for eligibility
Experience shows that books with very low print runs are not held in sufficient numbers in public and educational lending libraries to result in a payment to claimants. This change to the schemes will allow the Public Lending Right Committee to set a minimum print run for title claim eligibility, following further industry consultation.
The capacity to exclude additional categories of materials from eligibility for the schemes
The scheme changes introduce the capacity for the Public Lending Right Committee to determine specific categories of material that are to be excluded from the schemes.
The scheme changes also clarify the meaning of the requirement for publishers to publish regularly to remain eligible:
Publisher must be regularly publishing to remain eligible
For a publisher to remain eligible under the schemes, they must be ‘regularly publishing in Australia’. The changes clarify that ‘regularly publishing’ means the publishing of at least one new work or revised edition in the preceding three-year period. ‘Regularly publishes in Australia’ does not include the reprinting of books.
Increased consistency between the PLR and ELR Schemes
The remaining scheme changes are designed to achieve greater consistency between the PLR and ELR schemes and to provide greater certainty to claimants through the following measures:
Definition of a ‘book’
The changes introduce a consistent definition of a ‘book’ which excludes books designed for a single use as well as material previously excluded, such as audio-visual kits, compact discs and electronic books. This new definition also enables the Public Lending Right Committee to determine, from time to time, specific categories of material that are to be excluded from the schemes.
The continuing financial interest test for claimants
This change provides consistency between the two schemes in relation to the test of the continuing financial interest of creators. In assessing eligibility of a claimant the Committee may have regard to …‘whether the creator has a significant continuing financial interest in the book’. If a creator is in receipt of royalties they are likely to have an ongoing financial interest.
The scheme changes may be obtained by viewing the original documents using the following links:
- Public Lending Right Scheme 1997—Modification 1 of 2011 on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments
- Full copy of the Public Lending Right Scheme 1997
- Public Lending Right Scheme 1997 Determination 2011 (No. 1) on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments
- Educational Lending Right Policies and Procedures 2011 (PDF - 188 KB) | (RTF - 2.9 MB)
- Previous copy of the ELR Policies and Procedures: Educational Lending Right Policies and Procedures July 2004 (PDF - 72 KB) | (RTF - 630 KB)