Public Lending Right is the right of authors to receive payment for free public use of their works in libraries.


Each year, Canada’s Public Lending Right Program, overseen by the Public Lending Right Commission (an advisory body of the Canada Council for the Arts), provides payment to writers, translators, editors, illustrators, and photographers whose works are for lend or use in Canadian public libraries. Eligibility for this incredible opportunity is limited to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Some exciting changes to the program were announced this year! To help our members and poets all across the country better understand how these changes could apply to them, Peter Schneider – Manager of the PLR and Executive Secretary of the PLR Commission- graciously anticipated some of our questions. Read what he has to say:


When is the PLR Program scheduled to deliver payments which reflect the increase to the budget of the Canada Council?

PLR will be distributing an additional $2.5 million to registered participants in February 2019. An additional increase of $2.5 million will follow in the payments delivered in February 2020. These are permanent additions to the program’s base budget. In February 2018, the program will deliver more than $9.7 million in author payments to more than 17,500 creators.


Why are older titles being removed from active registration starting this year?

In the interests of fairness and sustainability of the program. PLR in Canada is based on annual library catalogue searches, with payments to registered titles depreciating over time according to a four-tier sliding scale. As the program is now 32 years old, and as thousands of new titles and up to 800 new individuals join the program’s ranks each year, the members of the PLR Commission have moved to cap the payment schedule at a maximum of 25 years of active registration and payment.

PLR Program registrants who have titles that will be affected by the 25-year limit will see a listing of these titles in 2018, providing registrants with a full year’s notice that these works will not be included in the calculation of next year’s PLR results.

The 25-year limit on payments will ensure that there are always funds available for new works and new participants.

The 25-year limit along with the sliding scale will ensure that new works continue to receive robust compensation, as is appropriate, given that newer works are the most frequently used materials in public libraries and as newly-published works are most likely to experience reduced sales owing to availability in libraries. A key mission of the PLR program is to compensate authors for lost sales and revenue owing to library use.


The 2018 registration period is the final opportunity to register titles that were published more than five years ago – why is this?

The PLR Commission has moved to provide a one-year fair notice of the PLR program’s evolution as it relates to publication date of registered titles.

Beginning in 2019, all eligible titles must have been published within a five-year span prior to the year of registration with the program. This will ensure that new titles entering the program at the maximum rate of pay will be current or recent works and that all eligible titles will be included in the catalogue searches for the full period of 25 years.


When are audiobooks going to be eligible for registration in PLR?

Starting with the 2019 registration period.


Does the removal of titles that have been registered for more than 25 years mean that those titles will be removed from libraries?

The PLR Program does not determine which titles are available in public library collections. The 25-year payment limit is a means of setting fair and sustainable limits for the PLR Program and does not affect a library’s collection development policies.


What happens if a work that has surpassed its 25 years of active PLR registration is published in a new edition?

In this situation, the work may be eligible for consideration as a new PLR registration, provided that the new edition also features a new ISBN and a publication date that occurred after the title reached its initial 25-year limit. PLR registration remains open to living authors only. Editions of a work that were published during the initial 25-year registration are not considered.

Thanks, Peter, for this helpful guide! For more information, visit the PLR’s (newly re-designed!) website: