Friday, October 12, 2007

ELR funding confirmed

The Minister for the Arts, Senator George Brandis SC, confirmed that funding for Educational Lending Rights (ELR) had been confirmed past 2008 on 8 August 2007 (see his press release here).

The Australian Society of Authors was instrumental in establishing ELR. The ELR program provides payments to eligible Australian creators and publishers on the basis that they are missing out on potential royalty payments when their books are borrowed from educational libraries rather than purchased. The Public Lending Right program (PLR) provides the same support for works held in public libraries.

ELR was established in 2000–01 as an element of the Book Industry Assistance Plan, offering compensation for the imposition of the goods and services tax (GST). It received funding of $35 million for the period 2000–01 to 2003–04. Following a review of the programme in 2003, $44 million was provided in the 2004–05 Budget to continue the scheme for the next four years. Further funding has now been confirmed. The Australian Labor Party has also made a commitment to further funding for ELR in its Arts statement.

The ASA calls for the capital pool for ELR to be increased to at least $16 million to allow for increases in the number of books to which it applies as well as to compensate for the static level of funding for the previous four years. The ELR pool should also be subject to the same indexation applying to the PLR pool (the ASA also calls for an increase of the PLR pool to $10 million).

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