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Top > About Us > Legal Deposit System > Legal Deposit System Council

Legal Deposit System Council

Legal Deposit System Council

On April 1, 1999 the Legal Deposit System Council(hereinafter referred to as "the Council"), an advisory panel of outside experts was established, following the reorganization of the former Legal Deposit System Research Council. The purpose of the Council is to contribute to the improvement and proper management of the legal deposit system.
The Council's activities can be divided into two categories;
(1) To deliberate important issues on (a)the legal deposit system and the legal system for the acquisition for the internet materials of the government agencies and local governments and the private online publication, and (b)the amount of compensation at the request of the Chief Librarian, and (2) make recommendations to the Chief Librarian concerning those issues. Within the Council, there is a Compensation Division to deliberate issues concerning the amount of compensation.
The Council is composed of not more than 20 members commissioned by the Chief Librarian. Furthermore, if deemed necessary for the investigation of special expert matters, the Chief Librarian may commission additional expert members. The members of the Compensation Division are appointed by the Chief Librarian. If it is necessary to investigate and discuss specific issue in greater depth, a subcommittee may be established under the Council.

Report of the Legal Deposit System Council "Concept of the Acquisition System for the Networked Electronic Publications"

On December 9, 2004, the 12th meeting of the Legal Deposit System Council (Chairperson: Shinkichi Eto, Professor Emeritus of University of Tokyo), was held at the National Diet Library (NDL), and the report of the Council, "Concept of the Acquisition System for the Networked Electronic Publications", was decided and then submitted to Mr.Takao Kurosawa, the Chief Librarian of the NDL.

1. Background of the 2004 Report

(1) From 1999 Report to the Consultation in 2004

In February 1999 the Legal Deposit System Research Council (predecessor of the Legal Deposit System Council) submitted a report which proposed that the NDL should include so-called "packaged" electronic publications into the legal deposit system. The 1999 report, however, suggested that for the time being, the legal deposit system would not apply to "networked electronic publications, " such as those transmitted and received over a communications network, and that the NDL should acquire needed and useful publications positively and selectively by contract.
Accordingly the National Diet Library Law was amended in April 2000 so that the NDL could include packaged electronic publications in its legal deposit system. The amendment came into effect in October 2000. The NDL also started a project of collecting websites selectively in July 2002. At the same time, the NDL decided that it is important to look for an institutional way to collect information resources on the Internet and so-called "born-digital" information which has been increasing exponentially. For that purpose, in March 2002 the NDL consulted the Legal Deposit System Council to seek their views on the following question put by the Chief Librarian:
Should networked electronic publications issued within Japan be incorporated into the legal deposit system? If not, what selection criteria should be applied for them, and by what means should they be collected?

(2) Discussion of the Council

In order to answer the question submitted by the NDL, the Council set up two subcommittees: Subcommittee on Networked Electronic Publications (Subcommittee 1, Chairperson: Shumpei Kumon, Professor of Tama University) to report on the matter of whether online publications should be incorporated into the legal deposit system; and Subcommittee on Acquisition of Networked Electronic Publications (Subcommittee 2, Chairperson: Shumpei Kumon) to report on the latter part of the question.
Subcommittee 1 reported to the Council its conclusion that networked electronic publications should not be incorporated in the legal deposit system in March 2003. Subcommittee 2 reported to the Council its final conclusion in December 2004. The reports from the two subcommittees were approved and incorporated into one report by the Council, which was subsequently submitted to the Chief Librarian of the NDL.

2. Brief Overview of the Report

(1) Incorporation of Networked Electronic Publications into the Legal Deposit System

Firstly the report made it clear, following the conclusion of the Legal Deposit System Research Council, that incorporation of networked electronic publications into the legal deposit system is not appropriate in the light of the fundamental principles of legal deposit system -- publications must reach the Library; completeness of coverage; and imposing obligatory submission of their publications on publishers -- and the characteristics of networked electronic publications.

(2) Framework of the Proposed New System

Upon the conclusion mentioned above, the Council suggested another method of collecting networked electronic publications:its coverage and means of acquisitions, and ways to look at issues relating to copyright and compensation.

  • Coverage of acquisition: the NDL should collect all the networked electronic publications that are needed for the NDL in order to assist legislative activities of the Diet members or to provide the library services for the public, and should not make a selection based on the content
  • Means of acquisitions: the NDL should collect publications by means of reproduction for itself or submission from publishers as long as publishers do not refuse to have their publications captured and stored by the NDL during a certain period of time after the advance notice in order to avoid the possibility of chilling effect on free and open speech.*
  • Copyright issues: to make the acquisition of networked electronic publications by the NDL possible, it is essential to restrict the right of reproduction by legislation; to provide the library services to the users, restriction may also be necessary on right of reproduction and right of public transmission in many cases.
  • Loss compensation: compensation defined in the Constitution (Article 29 Clause 3) is not necessary as long as the use of the networked electronic publications that the NDL has collected is limited to the same manner as paper-medium publications, i.e., reading in the library and having printouts made. As for the networked electronic publications provided for free will not incur the financial loss.

*Publishers of networked electronic publications may not assume that their publications will be captured and provided for the public by the government. Thus the NDL's acquisition may be against the publisher's will and repress their motivation to freely express and publish their ideas. This had been pointed out in the 1999 Report.

(3)Future Issues

The 2004 report concludes that when the NDL would establish the new system for acquisition of networked electronic publications based on the framework proposed in the report, a phased-in implementation should be studied, while considering such legal problems as the chilling effect on free speech on the Internet and securing the necessary resources. Also it says that the preservation technology should be improved to ensure the long-term access to networked electronic publications.

The full-text of the report in English is here.
Report of the Legal Deposit System Council "Concept of the Acquisition System for the Networked Electronic Publications"

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