Public lending is all right

THE PUBLIC Lending Right Office, which distributes money to authors and illustrators whose books are lent by libraries, is to stay put, for now. The government had insisted that it would be thrown onto the "bonfire of the quangos". Having had 1015 responses to its consultation paper, it has decided that the existing lean, mean funding machine will stay put in Stockton-on-Tees under boss Jim Parker, but will reprint its headed paper to say it is a division of the British Library.

A fulcrum
A fulcrum

The British Library replied to the widespread suspicion that it has an interest in weakening copyright and - though it does not lend books itself - reducing payments to creators, saying that it "is committed to a robust and balanced copyright regime that respects the interests of rights holders, creators and users alike [and] operates at the fulcrum of the copyright balance."

One point in the government statement reeks of an "oops!" Jim Parker co-ordinates the International PLR network: "the future of the network will be an area for further consideration..."

The Society of Authors responded that it "regards this as an absurd move, which tinkers with a highly efficient organisation solely in order to satisfy the political objective of being seen to eliminate a quango."

Last modified: 17 Apr 2013; first posted 03 Apr 2013 - © 2013 contributors
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