We live in a society that is constantly changing and evolving and, with this in mind, on 29 December 2021 the Council of Ministers of the Spanish Government approved the draft bill amending the Legal Deposit Act (Act No. 23/2011 of 29 June 2011) to provide for more effective preservation of the country’s publications and optimise the management of preservation centres.

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First of all, it is important to mention that legal deposit is the legal obligation that provides for the compilation of copies of publications of all kinds, whether in physical format or online, at the preservation centres of Spain’s Autonomous Communities and the National Library. These administrative bodies are responsible for preserving Spain’s bibliographical and documentary heritage as well as its digital heritage, online publications, websites and electronic books and magazines.

The draft bill includes the following changes: firstly, publishers will be able to directly deposit copies in digital format, in addition to or in place of printed copies, provided that they are books, press publications and/or magazines. The purpose of this change is to facilitate the preservation of and access to documents, avoiding the need to convert these copies to digital format in the future.

Moreover, it adds the legal deposit of publications produced on demand, which was not included previously, and it recognises as preservation centres the Filmoteca Española (Spanish National Film Archive) and the Filmotecas (Film Archives) of Spain’s Autonomous Communities, whose objectives are to recover, research, preserve and disseminate Spain’s cinematographic heritage.

New categories for legal deposit are included, such as video games, commercial catalogues of bookshops, publishers and auction houses, as well as bookmarks, among others. With regard to video games, it should be pointed out that this is a significant change, given that under the previous legislation they were included in the category of audiovisual documents, whereas now they will have their own category with a view to ensuring the deposit of all publications of this kind.

Lastly, the changes include the removal of the requirement to deposit microforms, which have become obsolete, as well as all types of advertising publications, which are of no interest for purposes of heritage preservation, as stated in the draft bill. Moreover, pursuant to Constitutional Court doctrine, the draft bill eliminates the function of Higher Inspectorate, which had been the responsibility of Spain’s National Library.

The draft bill also incorporates the changes resulting from Royal Decree No. 635/2015 of 10 July 2015 regulating the legal deposit of online publications, which facilitates the preservation of the country’s digital heritage.

Finally, it is worth noting that this bill was drawn up in collaboration with the Autonomous Communities, the Federation of Publishers’ Guilds of Spain, the Spanish Video Game Association and the Spanish Centre for Reprographic Rights, with the aim of adapting to changes in the publishing sector, as well as providing for more effective preservation of the country’s publications and optimisation of the management of preservation centres.

Authors: Mabel Klimt and Paula Bellés

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