Publishers Licensing Society Annual Meeting

The Publishers’ Licensing Society Annual Meeting took place at Burlington House, in Piccadilly, on 1st July. Mark Bide, Chairman of the PLS board, welcomed delegates. Sarah Faulder said that a record £35.4m had been distributed to publishers through collective licensing and document delivery in 2016-2017.

Jonathan Griffin, Deputy CEO of the PLS, provided more information about PLS Clear, the PLS’s permissions system. He said that it now contains more than 50 million records, meaning that nine out of ten searches by those seeking permission to use excerpts from published materials are successful. Kevin FitzGerald, CEO of the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) gave an update on the CLA’s activities. He said that the CLA had collected £75m in licensing fees in 2016-2017, of which £13m came from international sources and £62m from the UK. The keynote speaker was William Sieghart, the founder of Forward Publishing, who has recently been asked to conduct a review of public libraries in England in order to suggest what their future might look like. This was an impassioned and eloquent speech.

At the end of it, he made a plea for the creation of a ‘Library-Plus’ library service that will enable libraries to operate from a position of strength, instead of the ‘tragic, tragic position we’re in at the moment’.