Publishers hold seminar on public lending rights

A timely discussion on the survival of the publishing industry and public access to knowledge took place in Taipei

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News)— The publishing community held a seminar on public lending rights (PLR) at National Taiwan Museum on Tuesday (June 11) to promote creativity and safeguard artists and publishers’ right to “fair remuneration.”

The event was timed to coincide with a Ministry of Culture trial period that is being scheduled to implement PLR systems. This will happen at the end of the year and compensate artists for losses caused by free loan services from libraries, which has stirred debate about whether this is fair practice.

Chiu Jeong-yeou (邱炯友), chair of the Graduate Institute of Library, Information and Archival Studies at National Chengchi University, told the audience at the seminar that the PLR system primarily benefits artists. He hoped that more artists can join the discussion and debate on the practice in order to make the PLR system fairer.

“While there are still concerns about PLR's management, costs, payment calculation, eligibility, and implementation, it is necessary for parties involved to join the discuss and resolve potential problems together,” said Chiu. “Although there may be some truth to the concerns, what is really at play here is a gap between the understanding of PLR by libraries and that of the publishing industry.”

Chiu added that writing PLR into law could also strengthen the win-win relationships between the libraries, the publishing industry, and the authors.

While the publishing industry and the artist community support the implementation of PLR, some argue the system would block free and public access to knowledge. Chiu presented arguments from both sides and urged further communication on the subject from all stakeholders, as PLR practice is a worldwide issue.

“It is an issue of social justice and social responsibility,” said Chiu. “Even within the field of library studies there are disagreements on the subject and that is why it is important to continue the discussion and debate.”