Register for the PLR scheme

10243 PLR Composite Image 624 x 315px (2)

Book contributors from top left: Erin Darcy, Eunice Tawney, Berlie Doherty, Dan Freedman, Rahima Islam, Nick East, Christine Molan, Noriko Matsubara, Katrina Naomi, Robert Hesketh, Sally Spedding, Dirk Robertson

How do I register?

If you have contributed to a book which is lent out by public libraries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and you can register for UK and Irish PLR schemes. 

Eligible book contributors can register online for both the UK and Irish PLR schemes through the UK PLR office, and choose ‘Register’.

You will be guided through the process of creating a British Library Online Account (if you don’t already have one) and registering for PLR. This process includes verifying your identity

Alternatively if you would like an offline account you can print and complete the New application for Registration form and return this to the PLR Office.

Please see our FAQs for further information on the new PLR system.

Am I eligible to claim PLR?

To qualify for PLR you should be a named contributor on a book’s title page or be entitled to a royalty payment from the publisher (NB. you do not have to own the copyright).

What can I register for PLR?

For both UK and Irish PLR you should register each book and each new edition where it has a different ISBN. New editions include paperbacks, large print, audio-books and ebooks.  Audio-books and ebooks DO NOT QUALIFY FOR IRISH PLR. Once an ISBN has been registered you do not need to apply for it again.

A book is eligible for PLR registration:

  • if the book is printed material, it is ‘bound’ ie held together by a fixed cover;
  • it has been published (books cannot be registered until published, you should wait until the publication date to apply);
  • copies of it have been offered for sale;
  • the authorship is personal (ie not a company or organisation);
  • it has an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) which is a 10 or 13 digit number usually printed on the back of the title page or cover

Books that are wholly or mainly musical scores, newspapers, magazines and journals, and Crown Copyright publicationsare not eligible for PLR in the UK or Ireland.

Information regarding how to calculate the share you are eligible for can be found here

Printed books

To qualify for PLR in a printed book you should be named on the title page or be entitled to a royalty payment from the publisher.  When two or more contributors are involved they must divide the PLR between them. This is done on the basis of percentage shares (see below for further details).

Only contributors who are named on the title page of a book and have contributed to the text or illustrations inside the book qualify for registration.  Writers of a foreword or short introduction do not qualify if this was their only contribution. Publishers and packagers are not eligible for PLR.

To register printed books, you do not have to own the copyright.  Prior to the changes to extend the PLR scheme to include non-print material, audio and ebook lending was covered under copyright law.  If you’ve signed over the licensing rights in your audio/ebook to your publisher, you may still register for UK PLR unless the publisher is already charging the library a licence fee to lend out your audio/ebook. PLR is not aware of such licence fees, but we are required to ask you to confirm that, to the best of your knowledge, a licence fee is not payable. 

Audiobooks

For PLR purposes, an audiobook is only eligible if it would read like a book should the entire content of the recording be printed. In order to be eligible for PLR, an audiobook must:

  • be a reading of an existing printed book, or
  • name a narrator/reader, or another contributor who performs the same role of guiding the listener through the performance

Audiobooks can come in the following formats:

  • CD
  • Cassette
  • MP3 Playaways (pre-loaded MP3 players which contain a single audio-book title – customer supplies headphones and battery)
  • MP3CD – (unabridged audio-books which can be played on home computers)
  • CD Roms which are the equivalent of a printed book produced in CD Rom format (eg a narrated version of a book or a pdf version of an ebook produced in CD Rom format)

The following materials qualify for registration (if they are issued with ISBNs), however will not receive a payment (as they are subject to the same copyright law restrictions as ebooks):

  • Digital download 
  • Audio download
  • E-Audio

The following audio materials do not qualify for registration:

  • Amazon audible downloads (digital downloads issued with ASINs)
  • Dramatisations of TV or radio shows or audio material based on TV and radio shows which just contain actors performing their role with no narration in between
  • Recordings of conversations, speeches, interviews and comedy sketches
  • Interactive/Multimedia CD Roms which require additional software or interactive content in order to use the material. Under the terms of the scheme, this type of material is not deemed to be the equivalent of a printed book (eg software providing interactive access to teaching material

E-books and E-audiobooks

On 1 July 2018 the UK PLR scheme was extended to include public library loans of e-books and e-audiobooks. Eligibility for e-books is the same as for print books and eligibility for e-audiobooks is the same as for audiobooks.

Those wishing to register e-books and e-audiobooks will be able to find information such as the relevant ISBN on their Royalty statement. 

NB: Non-print material does not qualify for registration with the Irish PLR scheme and will not be listed on your statement.

Please note that Kindle and Audible editions are not eligible. Amazon operates a closed digital rights management system and has not licensed its books to be available via public libraries in the UK. Kindle and Amazon audible download editions are further complicated as they are published using ASINs. Under PLR legislation, loans are collected using ISBNs.

Dead or missing contributors

Where a contributor has died or cannot be located, the remaining contributor(s) may still register a share that reflects their contribution. If similar books have been registered in the past, the same share agreement may stand.

Which name should I register with?

If you use a pseudonym you should apply for PLR using your real name. You are required to provide two pieces of supporting documentation which must match the name on our records.
You should provide your pseudonym when you register your books. We will link your registered name and pseudonym on our records.

Can I register for someone else?

It is not possible for someone else to apply on your behalf (eg agent, publisher, partner), unless they are acting under a ‘Power of Attorney’, in which case we would need to see a copy of the legal documentation.

Can I apply for books loaned outside the UK and Ireland?

The UK PLR office only administers the UK and Irish PLR schemes. However, UK and Irish authors are eligible for payments from the PLR systems operating in a number of other European countries including Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Austria. These payments are administered by ALCS.

Eligible illustrators, photographers and visual artists can apply to claim their share of Dutch PLR payments through the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS). Further information is available from DACS.

Find out more about international PLR schemes.

Can I claim payments retrospectively?

For both UK and Irish PLR, payments are made annually based on book loans data collected from public libraries over a twelve-month period.

In the UK the PLR year runs 1 July to 30 June. To qualify for payment for loans during this period authors must register their books by the closing date of 30 June. The Irish PLR year runs 1 January to 31 December. Books must be registered by the following 30 June to qualify for payment for loans during this period.

Neither PLR scheme allows for retrospective payments to be made for earlier years.

Can I apply if I live outside of the UK / Ireland?

To register for the UK PLR scheme you must have your only home or principal home in the United Kingdom or in any of the other countries within the European Economic Area (ie EC Member States plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) at the time of registration.  

Under the provisions of the PLR legislation authors resident in UK overseas territories and crown dependencies such as the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Gibraltar are not eligible to apply for PLR registration. This situation is under review by the government.

If you have more than one home, your principal home is the one where you spent most time during the 24 months before your application.

Continuous residence after registration is not a requirement, however if you move outside the UK or European Economic Area after registration you may not be able to register any new titles or editions for PLR. Once a book has been registered it will remain on the PLR system and you will continue to receive a statement each year.

To register for the Irish PLR scheme, you may be a resident or citizen of any of the countries within the EEA or United Kingdom. If you are not an EEA resident and are applying for Irish PLR as a citizen, you must provide a photocopy of your passport to confirm your citizenship within the EEA.

Please note that it is not possible to register for UK PLR as an EEA Citizen if you do not live within the EEA or UK. The UK PLR scheme takes no account of nationality but requires applicants to be resident within the United Kingdom or EEA to qualify for registration.

Useful forms

All of the following forms and leaflets can be requested in other languages, large print and braille from the PLR office. Please contact us for further information.

You will need to print the forms before completion and then post to the PLR office as we require an original signature to add the information to the PLR register.

Assigning PLR payments

PLR is a property right, which may be given away, sold or bequeathed. You are able transfer PLR interests to a new owner (either an individual or organisation) who will become the PLR assignee. Please note that by assigning PLR, you are permanently giving up your right to receive information on the loans and earnings of the books. It is possible to assign different books to more than one assignee.  A separate assignment form will need to be completed for each assignee, specifying which titles are to be assigned to them. However, it is not possible to divide the PLR in one book between different assignees.

You may wish to nominate an alternative payee (such as a friend or family member or a chosen charity) to receive your PLR earnings. This does not change the ownership of the Public Lending Right. You can amend your payment arrangement at any time via your online account.

Renouncing your PLR rights

If you renounce your PLR rights you are requesting to remove some or all of your registered titles from the register. This means that you will no longer receive any loans information or payments on the renounced books.

You may renounce books which have been assigned to you (ie the rights have been transferred to you on the death of the original registered owner, or assigned as a gift).  

In order to renounce you should complete an Application to Renounce Registered Interests (PDF) form.

People usually renounce their rights when their registered titles are no longer recording any borrowings. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the UK PLR scheme operates a sample of authorities which is rotated each year. Writers of local interest books for example, may experience fluctuation in borrowings depending on the libraries which are included in the sample.

Renouncing your PLR rights does not affect any future applications to register for PLR.  You may therefore re-register at a later date after you have renounced your rights.

What happens to my PLR earnings when I die?

For both the UK and Irish PLR schemes, the right to receive PLR continues for up to 70 years after the date of the original registered owner’s death. Please contact us to advise of a registered owner’s death in writing, via email or telephone.

The legal representative of the estate will be required to complete an Application for Assignment (Transfer on Death) (PDF) form. In order to transfer the PLR, we need to see copies of either the Will and Death Certificate or Grant of Probate, Letters of Administration or Confirmation document. These documents will be returned once we have recorded receipt. If no documentation is available, the Next of Kin should provide a letter to confirm this.

Full details are available in our Information Leaflet - UK and Irish Assignment and Posthumous Registration (PDF).

Posthumous registration

You can submit posthumous applications for both the UK and Irish PLR schemes through the UK PLR office.

First applications to be registered for PLR may not be made by the estate of a deceased author. However, if the deceased had registered books for PLR during their lifetime, under certain circumstances, additional books may be registered by the executor (or the new owner if the PLR rights have been assigned).

Posthumous applications to register new titles can only be accepted if the book was published within one year before, or up to ten years after the date of the original registered owner’s death.

New editions of existing registered titles can be added at any time during the life of PLR (up to seventy years after the date of the original registered owner’s death).

You must register separately each book and each new edition where it has a different ISBN. However, once an ISBN has been registered you need not apply for it again. Applications to register for PLR must be made on an official application for posthumous registration form.

If this is your first application for posthumous registration, the personal representative and the new owner must jointly complete the appropriate sections of the First Application for Posthumous Registration (PDF) form. The certificate section of the form must be completed by an independent witness who knew the original registered owner for at least two years before their death. 

Providing that a First Application for Posthumous Registration has been processed, any subsequent applications for posthumous registration may be made by the new owner of the PLR on a Subsequent Application for Posthumous Registration form.  It is not necessary for the personal representative to complete the form, and the certificate section is not required on subsequent forms. Full details regarding posthumous registration can be found in our Information Leaflet - UK and Irish Assignment and Posthumous Registration.