Proposal for WIPO PLR study by the government of Sierra Leone

Athanasios VenitsanopoulosNews, PLR, WIPO

The Sierra Leone delegation has made a proposal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for a study focused on Public Lending Right (PLR) to look at the benefits this might bring to authors and visual artists around the world. The proposal will be discussed at the next Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Issues (SCCR) session which will take place on the week commencing 16 November 2020. The International Authors Forum (IAF) has long called for further work on PLR alongside the Artist’s Resale Right and other remuneration rights at WIPO and we are pleased to see this progress has been made.

PLR is the legal right that authors have to receive payment, preferably from governments, to compensate them for the free lending out of their books by public and other libraries. Currently, 35 countries across the world have PLR systems; the first country to establish a PLR system was Denmark in 1946, followed by Norway in 1947 and Sweden in 1954.

Each country has a different approach, but generally PLR payments are directly funded by government and do not come from library budgets. Most commonly, PLR is distributed to authors in the form of payments related to how often their works have been lent out by libraries, but a variety of other PLR systems exist. PLR is important as it recognises the contribution authors make to cultural life and PLR payments can make a real difference to authors’ lives.

You can find out more about PLR systems here.

This will officially bring PLR onto the agenda for WIPO’s SCCR. A discussion will be held between national government delegations from every country covering PLR and the specifics of this proposal.

In the proposal, the Government of Sierra Leone sets out the benefits of PLR, in addition to the potential benefits of a UN-led PLR study that would benefit countries around the world. This proposal will be discussed and the SCCR will have to consider any further action that can be taken, based on expressions of support and opposition from national delegations.

IAF will be campaigning for WIPO to accept the proposal and it would be a significant help if you could contact your national delegation to raise the benefits of PLR for authors, ensuring their support for this proposal. This will have a significant influence on the progress of PLR at a global level.

Please contact us for resources to campaign your government officials with. We are offering to help prepare packs that set out the benefits of PLR, including model letters and emails, and documents illustrating the facts and benefits of PLR.

For help with lobbying your government and for resources to aid your campaign, please contact:

The full proposal can be read here.