Department for Culture Media and Sport

legal deposit

By law, a copy of every UK print publication must be deposited in the British Library by its publishers. This system is called legal deposit.

There are five other legal depost libraries which can request a print publication to be deposited with them:

Non-print publications

Many publications are now only released electronically. At the moment there is no legal requirement for non-print works to be deposited. The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 created a framework that makes it possible for secondary legislation to be introduced to allow for this. 

A public consultation on proposals to extend the legal deposit scheme to non-print publications took place from  24 February to 18 May 2012. The draft regulations are designed to ensure that the legal deposit libraries can provide a national archive of the UK’s non-print published output.

This follows an earlier consultation during 2010-11 which resulted in the Government confirming a commitment to delivering regulations that cover non-print content and proposing to develop the draft regulations to include to cover off line content and on line content that can be obtained through a harvesting process. The revised draft regulations also cover on line content that is substantially the same as a printed work, removing the need to deposit print and reducing the costs to the publishing sector.

The Government response to the consultation was issued on 3 September 2012. In summary, we intend to proceed with introducing the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-print works) Regulations in April 2013, will be making a number of minor amendments to the proposed regulations in response to the consultation and will be seeking to clarify other relevant points in accompanying guidance.