The American first-sale doctrine, (the right to freely sell or lend copies of copyrighted materials) would seem to ensure that the US doesn’t have to establish a PLR system, unless it voluntarily chooses to, in much the same way that purchasers of used books aren’t legally required to pay authors for the second sale of a book. But the PLR is an interesting idea, particularly insofar as it might help subsidize authors in need. Does it work? (Does anyone have any experience with the PLR, and its workings?)
Per writer Mary Beard, in the UK, 363 authors make between £5000 and £6000 a year via the PLR; the next 20,000+ authors get paid less—as little as £1, in some cases. (Ms. Beard made a grand total of £18.54 this past year.)
PLR International has more on the system. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions has an interesting statement opposing it.
(Also of possible interest to readers interested in book trade law: the British Net Book Agreement, which restricted the price of new books from 1900 to 1997.)Posted by Anirvan