Schemes and guidelines

The Educational Lending Right (ELR) is administered under the ELR Policies and Procedures 2011.

Public Lending Right (PLR) and Educational Lending Right (ELR) are Australian Government cultural programs that make payments to eligible Australian creators and publishers in recognition that income is lost through the free multiple use of their books in public and educational lending libraries. PLR and ELR also support the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging the growth and development of Australian writing.

The Public Lending Right Act 1985 provides the legislative framework for the PLR Scheme 1997. For the purposes of the Act, a Public Lending Right Committee is appointed by the Minister to administer the PLR scheme. The Act provides for the gazettal of a PLR scheme by the Minister.

What are the objectives of the Lending Right schemes?

  • To make payments to Australian creators and publishers on the basis that income is lost from the availability of their books in public and educational lending libraries.
  • To support the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging the growth and development of Australian writing and publishing.

How do PLR and ELR work?

After registering with Lending Rights, claimants submit title claims as a creator or publisher for the books they have published. These books are surveyed in a sample of either public lending libraries (PLR) or school, TAFE and university libraries (ELR). Payments are determined by the number of copies of eligible books estimated to be held in public lending libraries or educational lending libraries. If 50 or more copies of an eligible book are estimated to be held in the libraries surveyed for either scheme, then a payment may be made under that scheme for that book.

Books are surveyed annually for two consecutive financial years following their year of publication. If, in the second year, a book is still held in sufficient numbers in public or educational lending libraries, it will be resurveyed at least every three years. Books with less than 50 copies in the second or subsequent survey are dropped from the survey cycle. However if a new title claim is received for a second edition of a book previously claimed and now out of survey, then the book is surveyed again.

Which creators are eligible for PLR and ELR?

Eligible creators include:

  • authors, editors, illustrators, translators and compilers
  • Australian citizens, wherever they reside
  • non-citizens who normally reside in Australia (eligibility ceases if normal residency in Australia ceases).

Creators must be entitled to receive royalties from the sale of their book. Creators who receive an upfront payment must also have an entitlement to an ongoing royalty payment to be eligible for PLR and ELR.

Books written by Australian creators may be eligible even if those books have not been published in Australia.

PLR and ELR only make payments to living creators. As an exception, a payment may be made in the year a creator dies. However no further payments will be made after the program year in which the creator died.

Which publishers are eligible for PLR and ELR?

  • Publishers whose business consists wholly or substantially of the publication of books and who regularly publish in Australia are eligible.
  • Self-publishing creators may also be eligible, as may non-profit organisations that publish to further their aims and objectives.

Payments are only made to eligible publishers if an eligible creator is receiving a payment.

Which books are eligible for PLR and ELR?

An eligible book is a book with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that has been offered for sale and has no more that five eligible creators. The book must also have a catalogue record in a national bibliographic database and must be claimed within five years of publication.

You cannot make a claim for the following items:

  • books with no ISBN
  • books without a catalogue record in a national bibliographic database
  • books with more than five eligible creators
  • books without identifiable creators
  • magazines and other serial publications
  • non-book material including talking books, computer disks, CDs, DVDs and audio-visual kits.

Claiming PLR and ELR

New title claims for both PLR and ELR close on 31 March each year. Creators or publishers can make a claim through Lending Rights Online or by using the forms available from Making a Claim.

You only need to submit one claim for a book unless a new edition is issued with a new ISBN, or there are changes to the title or changes to the number or royalty entitlements of creators.

The following table outlines the timeline for submitting a title claim for a new book and receiving a payment for that book.

Year of publication Closing date for title claims Financial year of first survey First payment (if eligible)
2011 31 March 2012 2012–13 June 2013
2012 31 March 2013 2013–14 June 2014
2013 31 March 2014 2014–15 June 2015

Payments

Under the PLR and ELR schemes payments may be made to eligible creators and publishers.

The two schemes are administered separately. Different rates of payment are determined for PLR and ELR each year (with the rate for publishers set at one quarter of the rate for creators) and payments under each scheme are made separately. PLR and ELR payments are based on an estimate of the number of copies of a creator's or publisher's eligible books held in Australian public or educational lending libraries.

Creators and publishers register for PLR and ELR at the time of their first title claim. If there is more than one eligible creator of a book, each will receive a PLR or ELR payment in proportion to their share of the royalty payments.

A minimum payment amount applies to both 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 minimum payment amount for the PLR and ELR programs from 2012–13 onwards is $100.

PLR and ELR payments are not subject to GST. However, claimants must declare their PLR and ELR payments for income tax purposes.

PLR payments

The PLR rates of payment for 2012­–13 were $1.96 per copy of each eligible book for creators and 49 cents per copy of each eligible book for publishers. In the 2012–13 program, 7901 book creators and publishers will receive PLR payments.

A PLR payment for a book is calculated by multiplying the program year's PLR rate of payment by the estimated number of copies of the book held in Australian public libraries. For example, if the estimated number of copies held in 2012–13 was 200, the creator's PLR payment for that book would be $392.00 and the publisher's PLR payment would be $98.00.

ELR payments

For each book claimed with ELR, a claimant's percentage entitlement to royalties for that book is multiplied by the estimated number of book copies held in Australian educational libraries to determine an equivalent number of book copies for that title. The equivalent numbers of book copies calculated for each of a claimant's titles are added together to calculate the claimant's total equivalent number of book copies, which is multiplied by the program year's rates of payment to calculate the ELR payment for that year. In the 2012–13 program, 9865&nbps;book creators and publishers received ELR payments.

The ELR rates of payment are tiered. The rates in 2012–13 were:

 

Total equivalent number of book copies

Rates of payment

Creator

Publisher

First 50

$1.4792

36.98 cents

51–500

83 cents

20.75 cents

501–5000

41 cents

10.25 cents

5001–50,000

12 cents

3 cents

More than 50,000

9 cents

2.25 cents

If, for example, a creator’s total equivalent number of book copies in 2012–13 was 600, the ELR payment made to that creator would be $488.46 (50 x $1.4792 + 450 x 83 cents + 100 x 41 cents).

Please note

Due to the long lead time required to register new claimants and title claims and to prepare for and conduct the annual PLR and ELR surveys, the closing date for each PLR and ELR program year is the 31 March before the start of the program year. For instance, the closing date for the 2014–15 PLR and ELR program year, which runs from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015, is 31 March 2014. There is no opening date for title claims, which may be submitted year round as soon as a book has been published. This allows book creators and publishers to make claiming for PLR and/or ELR a part of their routine for each new book. It also means, however, that from time to time changes may be made to aspects of the PLR and/or ELR schemes between the time a new title claim is received and the first program year in which that title claim may be eligible for a payment.

Unlike many other forms of Australian Government support for the arts, PLR and ELR do not require claimants to apply separately for each program year. Instead, creator and publisher registrations and title claims are automatically carried forward into each successive program year, meaning that a single title claim may continue to generate payments for many years, or even decades. While this arrangement saves time and paperwork for both claimants and for the Lending Rights team, please note that the schemes will not necessarily continue to operate in exactly the same way they did when a creator or publisher first registered or submitted a title claim.