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Legal Deposit (Copyright Libraries)

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What is Legal Deposit?

Legal Deposit is the statutory obligation on publishers and distributors to deposit at least one copy of every publication, free of charge, in designated legal deposit libraries. Legal Deposit benefits authors, publishers, researchers and the general public because it helps to ensure that:

  • The nation’s published output is collected systematically and becomes part of the national heritage
  • Publications are recorded in the online catalogues of legal deposit libraries and become an essential research resource
  • Deposited publications are made available to users of the deposit libraries on their premises
  • Published material is preserved for the use of future generations

Legal Deposit and Trinity College Library Dublin

Legal deposit has been established in Trinity College Dublin since 1801, accounting for much of the Library's collection of five million volumes.

Trinity College Library Dublin benefits from legal deposit legislation of both Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Irish publishers and distributors are required to deliver a print copy of each of their works to Trinity College Library Dublin under the terms of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000.

UK publishers and distributors are obliged to deposit a copy of each of their works in the British Library, and on request in the five other specified libraries including Trinity College Library Dublin, under the terms of the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 (UK).

From 6 April 2013, under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013 (UK), the British Library and the other five specified legal deposit libraries are entitled to harvest content from UK-published material on UK websites, and to collect UK-published e-journals, e-books and other types of non-print publications, both on-line and off-line (e.g., CD-ROMs). Please note: these regulations only apply to UK publishers and distributors. More information is available from the British Library.

Legal Deposit and Irish Publishers

Irish publishers and distributors are obliged by law to deposit one copy of a book or journal in each of 13 specified legal deposit libraries in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

For the purposes of the Act:

  • A publisher is anyone who issues or distributes publications to the public, irrespective of:
    • Size of the publishing operation
    • Number of copies of a published edition
    • Price of individual copies
  • Items originally published elsewhere but distributed in the Republic of Ireland are also included
  • A "book" includes all printed publications such as:
    • newspapers
    • journals
    • magazines
    • pamphlets
    • sheet music
    • maps

These requirements are covered in Section 198 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000.

Section 198(1) states “the publisher of any book published in the state, shall, within one month after publication, deliver, at his or her own expense, a copy of the book to each of the following…”

In addition, Irish publishers and distributors are required, on request, to deposit publications with:

The Irish Copyright Agency (c/o Trinity College Library Dublin) provides a local address for Irish publishers and distributors to send works intended for onward despatch to the legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom (other than the British Library).

Legal Deposit Contact Details

Irish publishers and distributors should send copies of their publications to:

Trinity College Library Dublin

Accessions Department
Trinity College Library Dublin
College Street
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 8961021
Fax: +353 1 8963774
E-mail: libraryaccessions@tcd.ie

National Library of Ireland

Legal Deposit Section
National Library of Ireland
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Ireland

Other Irish Legal Deposit Libraries

Copies for the other six Irish libraries should be sent to the Acquisitions Department of the libraries of the individual universities:

UK Legal Deposit Libraries

Deposit Guidelines

Irish publishers and distributors should deliver the four copies of print publications (only) intended for the Bodleian Library, Oxford; Cambridge University Library; the National Library of Scotland, and the National Library of Wales, to:

Irish Copyright Agency
c/o Trinity College Library Dublin
College Street
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 8961021
Fax: +353 1 8963774
E-mail: irlegdep@tcd.ie

The copy intended for Trinity College Library Dublin may be included in the same parcel.

Alternatively send four copies directly to the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries in the United Kingdom at:

Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries
161 Causewayside
Edinburgh
EH9 1PH
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 131 6234680
Fax: +44 845 6234681
E-mail: publisher.enquiries@legaldeposit.org.uk

The British Library

Publications destined for the British Library should be sent directly to:

The Legal Deposit Office
The British Library
Boston Spa
Wetherby
West Yorkshire
LS23 7BY
United Kingdom
Books - Tel: +44 1937 546268
E-mail: legal-deposit-books@bl.uk
Serials - Tel: +44 1937 546267
E-mail: legal-deposit-serials@bl.uk
Newspapers - Tel: +44 1937 546409
E-mail: LDO.newspapers@bl.uk
General Fax: +44 1937 546273

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