The Government is to pay authors for every one of their books borrowed in public libraries following pressure from the European Commission. 

The new system, which could cost several million euro, will mean authors will now be paid royalties every time their books are borrowed from libraries, rather than just for one single copy. 

The European Commission had threatened the Government two years ago with legal action for failing to implement its Rental and Lending Directive properly and finally took Ireland to the European Court of Justice.

The Minister of State for Trade & Commerce, Michael Ahern, said he would now bring forward a new public lending right payments system to address the commission's concerns.

Mr Ahern said: 'There had been a continuing difference in interpretation of the Rental and Lending Directive between Ireland and the commission, which remains the subject of proceedings against Ireland in the European Court of Justice, but I am confident that this bill will resolve these differences.'  

When the Government introduced the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, it attempted to exempt all public libraries from the royalties, rather than the school and college libraries envisaged by the directive.

Under the new system, libraries attached to schools will still be exempt.

An Artists' Resale Right payments system is also being introduced for artists whose original works are resold through the art trade.