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Legal Deposit Libraries

Volume 715: debated on Monday 30 November 2009


My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Margaret Hodge) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (the “2003 Act”) requires publishers to deliver a copy of every printed work published in the United Kingdom to the British Library and the other five legal deposit libraries upon their request. It also provides for regulations to be made which widen the scope of legal deposit to include non-print publications.

The Legal Deposit Advisory Panel (LDAP) was established in September 2005 following a ministerial undertaking made during the Second Reading of the 2003 Act in the House of Lords. It is an advisory panel of people appointed by Ministers and others acting in an ex-officio capacity, including representatives from the legal deposit libraries, the publishing sector and independent members. Its primary purpose is to make recommendations on the extension of the legal deposit regime to non-print materials.

LDAP has worked at arm’s length from Government and developed its own work programme concentrating on three areas of non-print material for the collection and preservation of:

(a) UK Offline and Microforms Publications;

(b) UK Online Publications, free of charge and without access restrictions; and

(c) commercial and protected e-content (those publications requiring subscription, password, or some other compliance by users).

To date it has provided a recommendation on (a) and (b) above.

Lord Evans, during the Second Reading of the Legal Deposit Libraries Bill in the House of Lords on 12 September 2003, made an undertaking that the initial set of regulations would be restricted to offline publications (a).

However, the Legal Deposit Advisory Panel has recommended a self-regulated voluntary system of deposit in respect of these materials, with active requesting by libraries. We have considered the detailed proposals provided and are content to accept its recommendation, and will therefore not be making regulations in that area for the present time, although we reserve the right to monitor their collection, and should the need arise we will regulate accordingly under the powers available to us in the 2003 Act.

We will shortly commence a full and detailed consultation on its recommendations for (b), with a view to producing regulations in that area. LDAP has started work on (c) and is due to report back to me on its progress in March 2010.