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CDNLAO Newsletter

No. 84, December 2015


Update on New Legal Deposit Legislation for Australia

By National Library of Australia

As reported in the last CDNLAO newsletter , the Australian Federal Parliament recently passed legislation updating the legal deposit provisions in the Australian Copyright Act 1968. The legislation received royal assent on 17 August and will come into force six months after that date on 17 February 2016.

The new legislation extends the legal deposit scheme to cover the online publishing landscape. It will allow the National Library to collect and preserve all Australian publications whether in print or digital form.

Some key aspects of the new legislation:

  • All Australian published works are subject to the new legislation, including websites, books, journals, sheet music, maps, magazines and newspapers;
  • Australian works include online works by Australians published or hosted overseas;
  • Works published offline (e.g. hardcopy print material and electronic material published on disk, USB or other media) must be delivered to the Library within one month of publication;
  • Works published online need only be delivered to the Library within one month of a request by the Library. The request can be issued automatically via a web harvesting robot; and
  • All works delivered to the Library must be free of any technological protection measures or restrictions and accompanied by any required software to ensure that the Library is able to preserve the work into the future.

Access to publications deposited under the new provisions will be provided in accordance with the Australian Copyright Act 1968. Publishers will have the option of choosing onsite or online access for their online publications.

Over the next couple of months, the Library will be engaged in direct consultation with publishers to develop our systems and procedures to ensure they meet the needs of both publishers and the Library. Early this month, the Library released a fact sheet to industry associations and publishers, which explained the new provisions. More detailed content on deposit requirements, with further opportunities for publisher feedback and comment, will be provided in late 2015-early 2016. Development of the digital infrastructure to support e-deposit is progressing well. An online e-deposit form is currently being developed for various formats (e.g. books, journals) and is scheduled for testing later this year. This online form is intended for use by smaller publishers who only need to deposit one or two publications at a time. A batch deposit system for bulk ingest of files is expected to be available by mid-2016.

The implementation of the new legal deposit legislation in February 2016 will mark a significant milestone for the National Library of Australia. It comes after two decades of work by the Library’s Council, senior Library staff and officials at the Department of Attorney-General’s and Ministry of Arts and consultation with the publishing industry.

< Diagram explaining the new legal deposit process for publishers from the National Library of Australia fact sheet “New Legal Deposit Legislation for Australia” >

Any enquiries about the new legislation should be directed to Alison Dellit, Director of Australian Collections Management (email:

Copyright (C) 2015 National Library of Australia