Copyright Deposit, Legal Deposit or Library Deposit?: The Government's Role as Preserver of Copyright Material

John Gilchrist

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    The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) contains what is commonly referred to as a library deposit provision. The provision is s 201. This requires the publisher of library material which is published in Australia to deliver a copy of the material at the publisher’s own expense to the National Library, within one month after publication. The provision is restricted to material in which copyright subsists under the Act. There is a penalty for noncompliance of $100. Section 201 is expressed to be not intended to exclude or limit the operation of any law of a State or Territory of similar effect, and each State and one Territory of Australia similarly requires the deposit of library material published in its State/Territory to its prescribed library. These library deposit provisions have been a part of Australian copyright laws since their inception as colonial laws. Their common law origins can be traced back beyond the first copyright statute in England (the Statute of Anne of 1709) 2 and into the licensing regimes that preceded that statute and then into a private agreement between the University of Oxford and the Stationers' Company, the Londonbased guild of printers, booksellers and publishers, in 1610. There are similar compulsory deposit laws throughout the common law world. Over recent years the nexus between copyright laws and deposit provisions has become weaker by the increasing passage of specific laws outside copyright protection regimes called library deposit or legal deposit laws.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)177-194
    Number of pages18
    JournalQueensland University of Technology Law Justice Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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