25 Year Limit on Registrations Brings Fairness to New Creators

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The PLR Program operates based on registered claims received from creators: a share claim represents an eligible creative contribution (writing, translation, illustration, or photography) to an eligible title.

In 2018, the PLR Program will accept claims for titles published up to May 1, 2018. Starting in program year 2019-20, the PLR Program will only accept claims for work that appears in an eligible title published within the past five years. In 2019, only claims for work published in 2014 or later will be considered.

A share claim can range from 10% to a full 100% of a title’s PLR payment. Up to 6 contributors to a single title may make a claim and share in the proceeds from that title.

Different contributors sometimes register their claims for the same title in different program years. For instance, the writer of a picture book may submit her initial claim in 2015, and the illustrator may submit his claim in 2016. Each creator is eligible to receive a share of the title’s payment. However, we do not retroactively compensate the illustrator for the period before he registered. A creator must register to be eligible for his or her percentage share payment.

If contributors to the same title register in different years, the same claim may remain active for one creator but be deactivated for another, based on the date of each person’s claim.

From now on, claims will remain active for a maximum of 25 years. This is a logical and fair means to ensure that there will always be funds within the PLR Program to compensate new creativity.

Once a claim has been registered for 25 years, we will retire (remove) the claim. Once all eligible claims connected to a title have been retired, the title will no longer be included in our yearly catalogue searches.

Answers to common questions about the PLR Program changes:

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 delivered 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?

No. 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.

My title has reached its maximum limit for payments from the PLR Program. Can I register newer editions so that the title can continue to receive payment?

Only if a newer edition meets all of the following criteria:

  • The publication took place after the active registration period.
  • The book must have a new ISBN.
  • The creator must be a living person.