Public Libraries: Electronic Publishing

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 15th July 2013.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

(1) what steps her Department is taking to encourage appropriate models for remote eBook lending in response to the recommendations of the Sieghart Review of eBook lending in libraries;

(2) what steps her Department is taking to implement the recommendations of the Sieghart Review of eBook lending in libraries in respect of extending public lending rights to eBooks.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The Government commissioned an independent review of e-lending in public libraries in England last year and the panel, led by William Sieghart, recommended that Public Lending Right (PLR) be extended to cover loans of audiobooks and e-books borrowed from library premises and also remotely. On 26 June 2013, HM Treasury announced that in response to William Sieghart's recommendation that PLR be extended by commencing the provisions of the Digital Economy Act 2010; the Government will consult on plans to extend the PLR scheme to cover onsite loans of e-books and audiobooks, with loans data to be collected from July 2014:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-round-2013-documents

As set out in the Government Response to William Sieghart's review:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/an-independent-review-of-e-lending-in-public-libraries-in-england any amendment the Government would seek to pursue in future to extend the Public Lending Right (PLR) scheme to incorporate remote e-lending is subject to considering whether that would be compatible with the copyright directive and this matter is under consideration.

It is important to note that public libraries are able to lend e-books, both on library premises and remotely, without the PLR scheme being extended. Until such a time as the PLR scheme is extended, it will continue to be the responsibility of library authorities to reach appropriate agreements with non-print rights holders of those works, or with other parties on behalf of those rights holders, in order to license the lending of their non-print works.

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