Many readers will know that over the summer I launched a 30 Days of DRM series that focused on the concerns associated with DRM and anti-circumvention. Day Seven called for DRM-free library deposits. Well, one down and 29 to go – my weekly Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version, BBC international version) highlights recent changes to Canada's legal deposit regulations designed to accommodate the emergence of online publications and to address the DRM issue. Canada introduced mandatory legal deposit in 1953, requiring publishers to provide copies of all published books to the National Library of Canada. With little fanfare, the rules for legal deposit have gradually been adapted to the Internet and digital technologies. In 2004, the government granted the Library and Archives Canada, the successor the National Library, the right to sample web pages in an effort to preserve noteworthy Canadian websites. The Internet sampling provision has been used to gather copies of political party websites as well as a handful of notable blogs.
As of January 1st of this year, the rules have changed yet again as Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda introduced new regulations to accommodate the emergence of online publications and to address the concerns raised by digital technologies that potentially impede access. The latest changes will require many online-only publishers to begin submitting their publications to the LAC. The rules disappointingly stop short of requiring all publishers to submit electronic versions of paper-based documents, however. Such a requirement should be considered in the future to facilitate the creation of a national digital library.
The new rules also address mounting concern about the potential impact of DRM to deny future generations access to the publications in digital form.