Public Lending Right study given go ahead at the UN

Delegations from Sierra Leone, Malawi and Panama received approval for their co-sponsored proposal for a study on Public Lending Right

ALCS spoke in favour of the proposal at the 43rd Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

Public Lending Right (PLR) is a scheme through which authors receive a small payment each time one of their work is loaned out through public libraries.

Why is PLR important to writers?

Libraries provide an essential public service, but they should not come at a cost to the writers. Our report into authors’ earnings showed that authors often struggle to make a liveable income from their writing. By fairly compensating authors when their works are lent out, PLR provides authors with an additional steady source of income throughout their career.

It isn’t just about money; authors want their works to be read as widely as possible. With a PLR system in place, authors’ works can reach new audiences whilst receiving fair remuneration. PLR can also support linguistic and cultural diversity, by supporting local writers writing in local languages that may not be commercially viable.

What is WIPO?

WIPO is a United Nations agency that acts as the global forum for intellectual property policy and cooperation among 193 member states. The organisation meets twice yearly with member states and observer organisations to discuss relevant IP issues such as Public Lending Right, copyright exceptions and broadcasting. We have attended past annual meetings as an observer to represent our UK writer members on the international stage and inform other countries on how we remunerate authors.

Proposal for a PLR study at WIPO

Several regional groups, along with member states such as Argentina, Uruguay, Kenya, Botswana, and Ghana showed their support for the study on PLR. Authors’ organisations also gave their support, including the European Writers’ Council (EWC) and PLR International.

We have strongly supported the proposal since its introduction to the SCCR agenda in 2020 by the Sierra Leone delegation. We believe it has the potential to inform national governments around the world about how different PLR systems work and how these schemes can benefit authors and enrich national culture.

We offered our support for the proposal at the conference:

“In the UK, PLR is a system used to provide writers and creators with fair monetary remuneration for their work, as well as reflecting the value they hold to society. This scheme supports the author at no cost to either readers or libraries as it is funded through a separate system.

It is our view that PLR has significant potential for supporting authors in continuing their contribution to national culture.”

We look forward to supporting any work the WIPO Secretariat take on this important initiative to inform countries on how best to support and remunerate authors around the world.

If you have any questions, please email


What is PLR and how is it used in different countries?


Authors tell us why PLR matters