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PLR Scheme Overview

ELR Scheme Overview


Public and Educational Lending Right

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 2016. A Public Lending Right Committee is appointed by the responsible Minister to administer the PLR scheme.

The Public Lending Right Act 1985 has two objectives: “to make payments to Australian creators, and publishers of books in Australia, in recognition of their loss of income from their books being available for loan from, or for use in, public lending libraries in Australia”; and “to support the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging Australian persons to create books by encouraging publishers to publish books in Australia”.

The ELR scheme is governed by the ELR Policy and Procedures 2011 it has the same two objectives in relation to educational lending libraries.

Both the PLR and ELR schemes reflect that literature is vital to Australian cultural and intellectual life and to communicating Australian stories. By supporting the material wellbeing of creators and publishers, the Australian Government aims to ensure that this valuable contribution continues.


How do PLR and ELR Work?

Lending Right claims must be lodged within five years from the year of the book’s publication. The books are then surveyed in a sample of public lending libraries (PLR) and/or educational lending libraries (ELR). Payments are determined by the number of copies of eligible books estimated to be held in public 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..


Which creators are eligible for PLR and ELR?

Eligible creators include:

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?

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 published and offered for sale within five years from the year of publication and has no more than five eligible creators. The book must also have a catalogue record in a national bibliographic database.

Claims cannot be made for the following items:



Rates of payment are determined each year for creators and publishers. If there is more than one eligible creator of a book, each may receive a PLR or ELR payment in proportion to their share of the royalty payments. Amounts of less than $100 are not payable.

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

The PLR rates of payment for 2016-17 were $2.11 per copy of each eligible book for creators and 52.75 cents per copy of each eligible book for publishers. The ELR rates of payment are ‘tiered’ based on the total number of copies of all a claimant’s books. Payments varied from $1.56 for the creator and 39 cents for the publisher for the first 50 copies, to 9 cents for the creator and 2.25 cents for the publisher in the case of more than 50,000 copies.

For the 2016-17 program, over 17,500 PLR and ELR payments were made to claimants, totalling approx. $22.4 million.



As prescribed by the Public Lending Right Act 1985, the Australian Government Minister for the Arts appoints a PLR Committee, the functions of which are to determine eligibility, approve payments and advise the Minister on matters relating to the scheme. This committee consists of a Chairperson, two representatives of Australian creators, a representative of publishers of books by Australian creators, a representative of libraries, a copyright officer from the Department of Communications and the Arts and an officer of the National Library of Australia.

Although not directly responsible for the administration of ELR, the Committee has been invited by the Minister to advise him in this respect.

The day-to-day operation of both PLR and ELR is managed by staff in the Department of Communications and the Arts.


(UPDATED march 2018)

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