National Library of Australia Response to IPA Statement

Subject: National Library of Australia Response to IPA Statement
From: Margaret Henty (
Date: ke 02 loka   1996 - 02:50:00 EEST

National Library of Australia response to the
statement of the International Publishers
Association - Libraries, Copyright and the
Electronic Environment.

The National Library of Australia welcomes the
opportunity to comment on the statement recently
endorsed by the International Publishers Association
concerning the relative roles of libraries and
publishers in the newly developing electronic
environment. Electronic publishing offers new
challenges to both libraries and publishers and there
is consequently a need for discussion and
cooperation in reaching mutually satisfactory and
beneficial outcomes.

About the National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia is a statutory
authority which provides a range of library and
information services to organisations and
individuals. The Library plays an important role in
preserving the Australian heritage and maintaining
the Australian cultural identity. This is achieved
through the provision of access to cultural heritage
materials which the Library has a responsibility to
collect, organise and preserve. The Library is also a
publisher in its own right, as publishing is one means
of providing access to the Library's collections. The
Library provides access to its collections through the
National Library server (
which includes Images 1, a newly established
database of Australian pictorial images from the
Library's extensive pictorial collection.

Relations between libraries and publishers

The Library recognises that publishers have an
important role in information generation and
distribution for scholars, policy makers and other
members of the community. This role is unique, but
not exclusive. Libraries also have a role to play, and
there is no reason why the respective roles of
libraries and publishers cannot be mutually and
socially beneficial.

The Library works cooperatively with publishers to
achieve its aims. It provides a range of services
directly to publishers, in the form of provision of
International Standard Book Numbers, International
Standard Serial Numbers and Cataloguing in
Publication records. It also is a resource much used
by creators and publishers in the preparation of new
works. Publishers provide printed materials to the
Library in accordance with the legal deposit
provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 which cover
books, journals, newspapers, maps, music and other
publications. More recently, the Library has
commenced several projects designed specifically to
ensure longer term access to Australian publications
in electronic forms. It has established a voluntary
deposit scheme for CD-ROMs and other artefactual
electronic formats with a good response from
Australian publishers. It has also commenced a
project to archive networked electronic information
available through the Internet.

The role of copyright

The Library recognises that current copyright law is
in need of amendment to accommodate the changes
introduced by electronic publishing. It supports the
1994 statement of the Copyright Convergence
Group that:

The challenge for copyright law in this new
environment is to demonstrate that it can
continue to effectively provide a just and
acceptable balance between the valid
interests of intellectual property rights
owners and the public interest in fair and
reasonable access to a wide range of

The Library has made a submission to the Copyright
Law Review Committee in support of these
objectives and setting out view that freedom to
publish must be balanced by the right of access. In
particular, the Library is concerned to ensure that
the notion of fair dealing is maintained:

In the electronic environment, this means
the ability to read and browse without
paying individual transaction fees, in order
to assess and evaluate information before
deciding to select. The notion of metering
all access and requiring payment for
individual paragraphs or sentences from
larger works is not desirable

The role of legal deposit

Legal deposit is the requirement on publishers to
deposit publications with one or more repository
bodies. Legal deposit is included in the legislation of
most countries and is recognised in international
convention. More recently, a number of countries
have introduced additional legislation to guarantee
that publications in electronic and other formats are

Legal deposit and copyright are not necessary
connected in law. They are connected, however, in
that they bring together the activities of publishers
and libraries in the public interest and for the longer
term benefit of society. Legal deposit recognises the
role of libraries in collecting and organising a wide
range of material which is kept as a record of the
creative output of the nation. Publishers are able to
contribute to this process but it is recognised that
their role is different: publishers are not expected to
provide access to their material in perpetuity and
none would seek to do so.

The Library wishes to ensure that the principle of
legal deposit is maintained in the electronic
environment and extended to cover new formats as
they emerge. While legal deposit may be seen as a
right of select libraries and archives, the Library sees
this right as being balanced by a set of
responsibilities to meet the interests of the public
and of the depositors. In 1995, the Library, in
association with the National Film and Sound
Archive, presented a submission to the Copyright
Law Review Committee. This submission sets out a
number of principles on which legal deposit should
be accepted. These principles include:

* national cultural identity depends largely on the
survival of cultural material
* it is not enough to depend on publishers to keep
their works, and therefore it is essential to have
legal deposit arrangements to ensure ongoing
access to this material
* The Archive and the Library bear the
Government's responsibility to preserve the
published national heritage, and therefore no
publisher should be allowed to prevent the
acquisition or retention of a work by them for
heritage purposes
* once materials are acquired, repositories should
be at liberty to take any action which it considers
essential to ensure their continued existence: that
is, to copy or transfer materials to alternative
storage media.

The Library is of the view that all of these principles
can be met without compromising in any way the
legitimate rights of copyright holders to fairly
control the use of their works.

There are a number of recent examples of countries
introducing or amending legislation to ensure that
legal deposit covers electronic publications. In the
United States of America, France, Norway and
Canada, legislation is in place to allow collection of
these materials and their national libraries have
worked with publishers ensure equitable access to
them. In the Netherlands, a number of electronic
publishers, including Elsevier, have agreed to
deposit electronic journals, CD-ROMs, CD-Is and
other electronic publications. In December 1995 the
European Commission's DGXIII/E hosted a
Workshop on Issues in the Field of National Deposit
Collections for Electronic Publications attended by
both publishers and libraries. Amongst the
conclusions of the Workshop were the following:

* The need for deposit of electronic
publications is recognised by libraries and
publishers. There is consensus amongst
both groups that many materials otherwise
risk becoming unavailable to future users,
and that the deposit library has a
responsibility towards users without
alternative means of access
* Solutions adopted by national libraries in
the area of deposit should recognise the
rights of publishers and the legitimacy of
their demands for fair return and protection
against unfair use


Copyright law was designed to protect the balance
which exists between the interests of copyright
creators and owners on the one hand and the
interests of fostering creativity and innovation for
the benefit of society on the other. The Library
believes that it is possible to maintain this balance in
the electronic environment and that it should be
worked for cooperatively by key stakeholders who
include libraries and publishers. The Library sees
legal deposit as integral to the maintenance of the
Australian documentary heritage and applying to all
forms of material: it is currently seeking to have
Australian law amended to incorporate electronic

Margaret Henty
Senior Manager, Collection Development Policy,
National Library of Australia
Canberra, ACT, 2600
phone (06) 262 1157 Fax (06) 257 1703 email:

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