17 July 2015
The Earl of Clancarty has asked the Government ‘what steps they plan to take to improve the rights and income of professional authors and writers.’ The SoA welcomes the interest of the Peer who raised the issue of the rights and income of professional authors in the House of Lords this week.
Baroness Neville Rolfe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (jointly with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and Minister for Intellectual Property, responded by stating that she believes we have ‘world leading copyright laws’ and should be proud of the contribution authors make to the UK economy, but other members of the house voiced their fears about the decline in full time writers – stating the worrying figures in the recent ALCS report.
Lord Clement-Jones appeared to respond to the SoA’s call to make contracts fairer for creators and extend the Unfair Contracts Act to cover intellectual property, asking ‘How can we regard ourselves as the champions of creativity in the UK when the scales are so heavily weighted against creators?’ However, Neville-Rolfe dismissed the suggestion, saying that she does ‘not agree that the scales are too heavily weighted against creators’.
The issue of public libraries and Public Lending Right also arose, with several Peers raising the issue of PLR in community run libraries and Lord Stevenson of Balmacara stating:
Fully operating public libraries have been decimated in the last five years and, as the noble Lord said, there are now difficulties in interpreting how the PLR operates when volunteers are involved. Is it not time now, given the change in the way publishing operates, for the Government to institute a proper review of the PLR to make sure that our authors, who contribute so much to the creative industries, get proper remuneration from all borrowing that is done?
Neville-Rolfe reaffirmed the Government’s manifesto commitment to address the issue of PLR for remote e-lending.
The SoA will continue to lobby for the rights of authors on all these issues.