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Irish writers welcome ECJ royalties ruling.

WRITERS IN the Republic of Ireland are celebrating a victory at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that will ensure that Irish libraries pay them when their books are borrowed.

Ireland, the ECJ ruled on January 11, went too far from the spirit of the 1992 European directive on lending rights when, in its Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, it exempted all public libraries from the need to pay public lending rights. The directive allows exemptions for some establishments, but it never intended this degree of derogation, said the judges.

"PLR rewards all authors for their work, not just those who write best sellers," says children' author, Conor Kostick, a rising star, who published his first fantasy novel, Epic, in 2004. The book gained the Irish Writers Union chairman a nomination for the IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) honour list in 2006, and O'Brien Press published his second novel, Saga, in 2006.

"In the modern market," says Kostick, "a small number of titles tend to gain significant promotion. Elsewhere in Europe, PLR is an important component of an author's income. It is much needed in Ireland."

Kostick's union has campaigned for years on PLR and successfully urged the European Commission to take the court case against the ECJ.

The IWU, which receives some help from the Arts Council of Ireland, meets Irish trade minister, Michael Ahern next week to press for urgent PLR legislation.

"The IWU believes that payments should be funded by national exchequers and not from existing library budgets," said Kostick.
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Author:Mason, Deirdre
Publication:International News
Date:Jan 1, 2007
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