Jurisdiction - Australia
Australia – Preserving Blogs For Posterity: Digital Publications Collection? Proposed For The National Library of Australia.

30 April 2012


On 7 March 2012, a public consultation paper was launched which proposed changes to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The Attorney-General's Department is seeking comments on proposed amendments which, if implemented, would require certain digital publications to be deposited at the National Library of Australia.
The current legal deposit scheme provides a mechanism for preserving Australia's cultural heritage by enforcing a system where published works are deposited at the National Library.  Pursuant to section 201 of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), the publisher of any library material in Australia in which copyright subsists is required to deliver a copy to the National Library.  At present, this arrangement only applies to hardcopy publications, however the proposed changes seek to expand this to include digital publications.
The National Library collects approximately 12,000 books through the legal deposit scheme annually.  Physical format electronic publication are also accepted on a voluntary basis through individual arrangements with publishers. The National Library has noted the difficulties associated with negotiating with publishers individually and that the current situation limits the amount of electronic material they are receiving.  With electronic publication becoming increasingly popular, it is felt that expanding the legal deposit scheme is essential to preserving Australia's cultural heritage. While other provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) have been amended to reflect technological changes, the legal deposit provisions have not.  The proposed model distinguishes between electronic publications in "physical form" and material in "virtual form". It extends the current mandatory legal deposit scheme to include physical format publications but proposes that online virtual publications be subject to deposit on demand basis. 
For further information, please contact:
Mary Padbury, Partner, Ashurst

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