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February 1, 2010
Copyright Office Issues Interim Rule Governing Deposit of Online-Only Electronic Works
The Copyright Office's interim rule establishes that online-only works are exempt from mandatory deposit until a demand for deposit of copies such works is issued by the Copyright Office. See 75 FR 3863 (Jan. 25, 2010). The interim rule, effective Feb. 24, 2010, also states that categories of online-only works subject to demand will first be identified in the regulations.
Online-Only Electronic Serials First. Noting that there are now more than 5,000 scholarly electronic serials available exclusively online, the interim rules names electronic serials as the first category for which demands will issue. In this regard, if the published format of a demanded electronic serial does not meet any of the Best Edition criteria, the publisher is still obligated to send a copy of the serial in whatever form it is published in the U.S.
Access to Deposit Copies. The Best Edition Statement for electronic serials has been revised. The interim rule now states that "technological measures that control access to or use of the work should be removed" so that deposit copies can be accessed by Copyright Office, the Library of Congress, and LC's users.
Amended "Complete Copy" Definition. The interim rule clarifies that a "complete copy" of an online-only electronic work includes the associated metadata and formatting codes that make up the unit of publication. In the preamble to the interim rule, the Copyright Office states "The Office recognizes that future demands for online-only newspapers, web sites, and other categories may require adjustments to what constitutes a 'complete copy.'" [JH]