November 20, 2017

European Countries Not Compensating Authors for Library Lending Are Sent to Court

By LJ Staff

In Europe, authors are supposed to be compensated if their works are lent by public establishments such as book and music libraries, but Luxembourg and Italy are ignoring that requirement. Thus, the European Commission (EC) has referred both countries to the European Court of Justice for failure to nationally legislate that ‘public lending right’ provided for by a 1992 EC directive. Both countries had previously informed the Commission that they would comply with the directive, but apparently have not taken action, the EC said in a statement.

In December 2004, three other countries – Spain, Ireland, and Portugal – had similar cases sent to the court. The EC’s justification for the ‘public lending right’ is that borrowing a book may create less demand for purchases, and thus reduce the creator’s income and thus incentive to create. The court against Belgium in a similar case in October 2003, and Belgium last year responded by passing appropriate legislation. The EC is also inquiring as to whether Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are misapplying the requirement because they compensate only authors who live in their countries or write in their languages.