Mandatory Deposit of Electronic Books and Sound Recordings Available Only Online

The Copyright Office is seeking public comment on potential changes to the mandatory deposit regulations for electronic works published only online.

In 2010, the U.S. Copyright Office, acting pursuant to section 407 of title 17 and following a public rulemaking process, adopted an interim rule governing mandatory deposit of electronic works that are not available in a physical format. The interim rule refers to such works as “electronic works published in the United States and available only online” (or “online-only works”). The interim rule created a limited exception to the Register’s longstanding regulatory exemption that online-only works are not subject to mandatory deposit requirements. It also established best edition criteria and regulations as to electronic serials requested pursuant to section 407. The Library has adopted policies for the use of such materials, including limiting public access to deposited works to dedicated terminals located at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

The Library of Congress is now interested in extending the 2010 interim rule to apply to online-only books and sound recordings. Because over six years have passed since the interim rule was adopted, and because the interim rule was intended to inform a more permanent solution and rule, the Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry to help further guide its work in this area.