30 Days of DRM – Day 07: DRM-Free Library Deposits (Public Protection)

Legal deposit, first established in France in 1587, is a commonly used to preserve national heritage by mandating the collection of all published works.  The National Library administered legal deposit in Canada from 1953 until 2004, when responsibility was assumed by the Library and Archives Canada.  The LAC describes the obligation in the following manner:

Canadian publishers are required to send two copies of all the books, pamphlets, serial publications, microforms, spoken word sound recordings, videorecordings, electronic publications issued in physical formats, such as CD-ROM, CD-I, computer diskette, etc, and one copy of musical sound recordings and multi-media kits they publish, to LAC.

One copy of every publication, in any format, is stored in LAC's preservation collection, where it is kept in a carefully controlled environment and allowed limited use only. The objective is to ensure its availability for future generations.

The use of DRM represents a significant threat to the legal deposit program and by extension the preservation of our national culture.  While the LAC may have physical copies of books, sound recordings, and other works, there is a substantial likelihood that those copies will not be available for future generations, who may find themselves literally locked out of their own heritage.  Moreover, absent an exception in the law, circumvention by the library would itself constitute infringement.  The solution is simple – the government should amend the Library and Archives Canada Act to provide that the deposit program requires submission of DRM-free copies of all works.


  1. Tempusfugit says:

    What is even worse is the DRM copies of media are available for “borrowers” at the Public Library.

    Titles with Sony/BMG Sunncomm/MediaMax software that install themselves on an unsuspecting library users computer ARE in the TPL system.

  2. Jhonny Pabón says:

    DRM y Depósito Legal
    Creo que más alla de la posibilidad de conservación del deposito legal, las TPMs son un problema general para todas las Bibliotecas, por lo que deben existir excepciones para eludir estas medidas en el ambito de acción de las Bibliotecas.
    Creó que los sistemas DRM pueden llegar a ser aliados perfectos del depósito legal cuya función moderna debe ir mucho más alla de la conservación, y servir para una difusion de los contenidos. Ejemplos de Bibliotecas y el uso DRM, deben ser analizados y discutidos para no “satanizar” estas tecnologias [ link ]