When copyrighted works (such as books, sheet music, DVDs, CDs or works of art) are temporarily made available, the rightholders, such as authors, translators, illustrators, photographers and publishers should receive fair compensation. The right to this compensation is referred to as the ‘public lending right’.
The works are made available (or: lent) by publicly accessible institutions that operate without direct economic benefit. The fair compensation is referred to as ‘public lending right’. The legal basis of the public lending right can be found in Sections 12 and 15(c) to (g) of the Dutch Copyright Act.
By including the public lending right in the Dutch Copyright Act (in 1996), the legislator enshrined the public lending right in private law. As a result, authors and other rightholders are ensured of fair compensation for lending their work. By way of indication: public libraries in the Netherlands lend out works about 100 million times a year.
The compensation for lent works is collected based on a specification concerning the preceding year.
An invoice is sent which is based on the number of works lent out, multiplied by the rate applicable in the year in question. The specification of the number of works must be in possession of Stichting Leenrecht before 1 April. The compensation paid by the libraries will be paid to the rightholders in the same year.
Stichting Leenrecht has been designated to represent the interests of rightholders - both individually and collectively - economically, socially and culturally, with regard to the public lending and rental right, on a non-profit basis. Stichting Leenrecht has been designated for this purpose by the Minister of Justice by agreement with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Stichting Leenrecht exploits and maintains the public lending and rental right, as well as the relevant statutory regulations. In addition, Stichting Leenrecht will allocate, through the affiliated organizations, the money that has become available, for example through Stichting Lira which makes public lending right payments to authors.
The creators, from a legal point of view, of a copyrighted work or those who have acquired the rights to the work may claim compensation.
In actual practice the rightholders are:
• comic strip artists
• graphic designers
• visual artists
• executive producers
• broadcasting organizations.
Beneficiaries can also claim compensation.
If your work is lent out through, for example, the public libraries, you may claim compensation as the rightholder. The compensation is distributed annually among the rightholders through affiliated organizations of copyright holders. These affiliated organizations are represented in the sections of Stichting Leenrecht. You can contact the relevant organizations for the compensation to which you are entitled.
The difference is in the commercial nature.
Renting applies where copyrighted works are made available for a limited period of time and an indirect economic or commercial benefit is involved. In that case, the prior consent of the rightholder is required.
Lending involves publicly accessible institutions that do not obtain a direct economic benefit. In the case of lending the consent of the rightholders is not required, provided the rightholders are paid fair compensation. In addition to the management of the collective public lending rights, Stichting Leenrecht is also responsible for the collective rights regarding the renting of audio products.
The amount of the public lending right payment is determined at a meeting of Stichting Onderhandelingen Leenvergoedingen, StOL (Dutch Foundation for Negotiations on Lending Fees). In StOL, Stichting Leenrecht represents the interests of copyright holders; the Netherlands Public Library Association (Vereniging van Openbare Bibliotheken, VOB) represents those obliged to pay. The meeting is chaired by an independent chairman.
Anyone who lends copyrighted works through publicly accessible institutions must pay fair compensation. In actual practice the following institutions are concerned:
• public libraries
• special libraries
• art lending institutions
• toy lending libraries
• CD lending libraries.
In a number of cases, the libraries charge the public lending right payment on to the readers. Sometimes this is done through a higher subscription charge, sometimes through an amount per item lent. The payment is only made for works actually lent; a payment need not be made for consulting a work or looking something up in the library. In addition, a number of libraries are exempt from making the public lending right payment:
• libraries for the blind and partially sighted
• libraries in educational and research institutions
• the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).
(reference is made to Section 15(c) et seq. of the Dutch Copyright Act)
The public lending right payment must be made for copyrighted works: literary works, scientific works or works of art, such as:
• sheet music
• magazines and journals
• other documents
• works of music
• photographic works
• cinematographic works
• series of slides
• works of visual art.