Policy Guidelines for the Legal Deposit of Sound Recordings
Legal deposit is a statutory provision, widely applied across the world, which places a legal requirement on producers of publications to deposit their works in designated institutions. Although legal deposit requirements have mainly been applied to printed publications, sound recordings are considered of equal importance to printed material as part of the cultural and intellectual heritage.
Material acquired through legal deposit serves three related, but distinct, purposes. It enables the collection and preservation of all published works of value to current and future research; it ensures that published material will be available to users when it is no longer possible to acquire it in other ways; and it provides a means of compiling the national bibliography of published material.
3. Criterion for deposit
Since the purpose of legal deposit is to maintain a national published archive, the criterion for deposit should be the publication of the item. A work is considered to be published when:
- copies of the work are offered to the public for sale or hire or for distribution without charge, or
- the work is broadcast to the public, or
- the work is performed before an audience in a place which is open to the public, or
- a copy of the work is made available, for payment or otherwise, through a technology enabling the public to read, view, hear or otherwise use or consult the work in whole or in part.
4. Key principles for the legal deposit of published sound recordings should be:
- comprehensiveness - provision should include all recordings irrespective of carrier.
- notification - publishers should be required to deposit all published catalogues of their product with the repository.
- no exemptions - no organisation or body which publishes sound recordings should be exempt.
- no payment - physical material should be deposited at no cost to the repository.
- number of copies - publishers should be required to deposit two copies of the published item, one for access and one for back-up security and preservation. The two copies should be delivered to a single repository designated as the appropriate location for them.
- selection - repositories should have the discretion to reject material offered for deposit in specific cases where the expense of preservation outweighs cultural importance, or in the case of broadcast material which mainly comprises recordings already held.
- materials of required standard - material should be deposited in good condition. Where identical products are issued on parallel formats, the repository shall be entitled to determine which is more appropriate for deposit.
- continued possession of materials - the repository shall have the right to uninterrupted possession of physical materials deposited.
- the right to copy - The repository shall have a limited right to make copies, digital or analogue, of deposited material to support the functions of preservation and access.
- the right to show or play material - The repository shall have the limited right to provide free public access on its own premises to deposited material.
5. Responsibilities of the repositories
Repositories which are assigned the privilege of legal deposit accept responsibility for the publications and for meeting required standards of storage, maintenance, preservation, bibliographic control and public use facilities. The costs of caring for the legal deposit publications in places of deposit will be borne by the organisations which maintain them.
6. The ongoing costs
The ongoing costs of the maintenance of the national published archive should be taken into account when the designated repositories receive grant in aid from the appropriate public funding bodies.
7. Ownership of publications
Items deposited under the provisions of legislation would form part of the collections of the designated repository whose responsibility it would be to ensure that they were made available, appropriately, for research purposes and to endeavour to preserve them. Inalienable ownership of the physical item should be vested in the repository: this would not alter the copyright protection in force.
Prepared by the IASA National Archives Section Committee