The other day I received a cheque from The Public Lending Right Commission (AKA PLR Commision) for a period of time in 2007.
When I first saw the envelope in my mailbox my heart dropped a little. It was some sort of government form, and those typically don't bring good news. The last government form received was a notification that I'd made an error in filling out one of the forms on Francine's income tax last year, and we owed them more money.
I'd completely forgotten about what this great entity was. The PLR Commission distributes annual payments to Canadian authors for the presence of their books in Canadian public libraries. These payments represent compensation for the free access Canadians enjoy to Canadian literature.
The PLR Commission electronically samples the holdings of selected public libraries across Canada.
Because my book One Hand Screaming was found in 3 of the 7 library systems sampled, I received a cheque that was actually greater than any other single royalty payment I received in 2007.
Gotta love that. Gotta love The Public Lending Right Commission.
Unlike Access copyright, they actually work hard to get the money back into author hands. (Read the arts technica article on the report entitled "Authors get short end of copyright collective stick" or Michael Geist's blog article entitled "Independent report blasts Access Copyright Over Lack of Transparency" for more information on that matter)
But back to the good people who make up The PLR Commission. If you're a Canadian author with a book of poetry, fiction, drama, children's literature, nonfiction of scholarly work, you really should check them out to see if your work is eligible.
It doesn't take long to fill out the forms and submit the required information. In my case, it was definitely time well invested.