Copyright Office May Demand E-book Copies

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By Joseph Marks

May 17 —The Copyright Office may require publishers of Web-only e-books and sound recordings to provide copies of their publications to the Library of Congress, according to a Federal Register notice May 17.

The office is seeking comments on the proposed rule. The deadline is July 18.

The move comes six years after the office required serials only available online, such as academic journals and news websites, to share copies of their publications.

Online-Only Works Once Exempted

Prior to that 2010 interim rule, online-only publications were exempt from the “mandatory deposit” requirements borne by producers of physical publications and audio and video recordings.

The purpose of mandatory deposit is to ensure the government maintains a complete record of all copyright-protected works published in the U.S. as well as foreign works distributed in the country.

The expansion of mandatory deposit to include online serials was championed by the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, which said it would ensure a robust catalog of journals and other media for researchers. Library groups plan to comment on the new proposed rule in June, an ALA spokesman told Bloomberg BNA.

Groups such as the Software & Information Industry Association and the Newspaper Association of America expressed concerns about the 2010 proposal, including that the distribution process might be overly burdensome and that publications might lose subscribers if the library shared their work too broadly.

The office responded to those concerns, in part, by agreeing to limit access to some electronic works to physical visitors to the library.

The library stressed that the 2010 update was an interim rule and that the library “requires more information and experience with electronic publications before considering specific regulations to govern the demand deposit process.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Marks at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek in Washington at

For More Information

The Copyright Office notice

Request Intellectual Property on Bloomberg Law