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Re: LEGAL DEPOSIT OF BOOKS



To Pippa, Malcolm, and the list:

First, to clarify some misunderstanding, the legal deposit requirements
of some national libraries have nothing to do with protecting copyright.
Here in Canada, like South Africa (I believe) a former Brithish colony,
the National Library has the legal right to demand one (or more) copies
of every book -- and the definition of book is very broad, including
tapes, records, and CDs -- produced in the country. I think the original
intent was to ensure that at least one copy of everything that might
have *some* significance for future generations would be on deposit.

In 1994 a number of members of the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists
Guild took exception to the requirements stating that they were, in
effect, an extra tax on book producers in general, and book artists in
particular (painters, sculptos, and printmakers are not required to give
their works away). What precipitated the outrage was the introduction of
an act to repeal a certain subsection of the original act which allowed
for the deposit of only one copy where the retail value of the book was
in excess of $50. Also, the legislation was being rushed through
Parliament giving concerned book artists little time to respond. The new
act would have made some exemptions to the deposit regulations, but most
book artists and private printers felt the changes did not go far
enough. In fairness, our National Library has, in the past, often agreed
to purchase a second copy in the case of expensive or highly limited
work.

As a result of the protests, CBBAG began lobbying on behalf of its
members, and some changes were eventually made to the regulations,
particularly in the number of copies required: for books produced for
initial release in fewer than 101 copies, only one copy need be
deposited; further, for "books or book objects produced by artists,
where the artist is directly involved in the artistic creation of each
copy, such as hand colouring or paper sculpting" a publisher is not
required to send any copy unless the National Librarian specifically
request it. Unfortunately, the Chief of Acquisitions at the National
Library at the time told one of our members in a telephone conversation
that the deposit copies would be required unless the books in the
edition were 90% different from each other.

So the upshot is, the regulations still exist, albeit somewhat modified
through the efforts of a national lobby group on behalf of isolated
individual book artists. It may be necessary, Pippa and Malcolm, to
organize a similar lobby group (if one doesn't already exist) to
coordinate the protests of all private press operators and book artists,
to say nothing of art instructors in schools who may use the book arts
as part of their curriculum, in an effort to convince the government
that some exemptions should be made to the regulations. The alternative
might be the elimination of one aspect of the country's cultural
heritage which, I'm sure, is not their intention.

Good luck in your struggle,
Richard Miller
Editor of the CBBAG Newsletter.


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