Proposal to extend UK legal deposit

Charles Davis noticed
This Guardian Story on the six “legal deposit” libraries. They were built with the aid of the 1911 Copyright Act, which allows the British
Library and five others to claim a copy of all printed material published in Britain.

The legal deposit libraries provide vital collections for everyone in Britain, including researchers in business and industry, academics and students. However, with the explosion in e-publishing, they face the prospect of becoming increasingly
irrelevant. Unless we extend the law, as many other countries have done, valuable material will be lost forever. Examples of non-print include CD-ROMs, DVDs, microfilm/fiche and selected website materials, but who knows what form these will take in the future. The legal deposit libraries bill, set to get its second
reading tomorrow, aims to ensure that non-print materials are saved, alongside printed publications, for the nation. This is not
a minor issue. More than 60,000 non-print items were published in Britain last year – a figure that will increase by a factor of four
or five by 2005. Non-commercial publications, including websites, add enormously to this number.