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Hey everyone. Sorry if this has been covered a million times. I haven't seen any info on this in the forum but I'm sure it's there somewhere: mandatory deposit of two copies of your book within 3 months of publication or face a $250 fine (or up to $2,500 for repeated failure). So everyone here that has a physical book published has done this? If not, why not? It seems to be a requirement or else.

From the copyright gov site:

"All works under copyright protection that are published in the United States are subject to the 'mandatory deposit' provision of the copyright law. It requires that two copies of the 'best edition' of a copyrightable work published in the United States be sent to the Copyright Office within three months of publication."
 

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Exactly where did you get that from?

Copyright is automatic. You dont need to do anything at all.

Copyright registration is a totally different thing. And its only real use as I understand it, is in getting a bigger payout if you win a copyright dispute. This is totally discretionary.

If you can provide the link, maybe some context will help understanding.
 

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It's a library deposit and is part of a requirement to publish in most countries. I ignore it.

https://www.nsla.org.au/legal-deposit-australasia

ETA it's pretty hard to find out the requirements in Australia, as this website sends you on a merry-go-round, but there are some requirements to lodge copies with the National Library and State Libraries. Publishers do this. I've done it for my non-fic books, because it is how books can be picked up by library suppliers.

But I sure as hell ain't sending anyone hard copies of my print fiction books.
 

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Discussion Starter #4

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Article says ". . . earlier this month, the U.S. Copyright Office demanded Valancourt hand over one copy of 240 different books from the publisher's collection-for free."


edited, PM if you have questions -- Ann
 

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Patty Jansen said:
It's a library deposit and is part of a requirement to publish in most countries. I ignore it.

https://www.nsla.org.au/legal-deposit-australasia

ETA it's pretty hard to find out the requirements in Australia, as this website sends you on a merry-go-round, but there are some requirements to lodge copies with the National Library and State Libraries. Publishers do this. I've done it for my non-fic books, because it is how books can be picked up by library suppliers.

But I sure as hell ain't sending anyone hard copies of my print fiction books.
I've had letters from the NLA demanding a copy. They haven't noticed my recent releases, which may be because I published exclusively through Createspace instead of LSI, and only put the US market on my Bowker page. Or it might be because I didn't apply for a CIP entry for those books.

Just as well, given I can't get physical copies from Amazon any more.
 

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I knew about the UK requirement to deposit a copy with the British Library. It's kind of general knowledge. So I did that.
Recently, I had copied requested for the legal deposit university libraries. Apparently you don't have to deposit anything unless they ask you to. I guess them asking means I tripped something, somewhere, which is kinda cool.
 

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In the US, registering a copyright requires sending in one copy of the "best" edition. I find that annoying, since the Library of Congress is probably not going to shelve my books anyway, but I do it.

It sounds as if the failure to deposit copies (of additional copies if you registered copyright) is triggered by the demand for such copies. If I got such a demand, I'd comply. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. The Library of Congress, as has been pointed out, really doesn't want every self-published novel ever written.
 

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Puddleduck said:
Yeah, space is both finite and expensive, so it would be a pretty horrible use of taxpayer money to physically house all those books. Which makes me assume they don't. I can only figure that they just toss a lot of them into the trash/recycling.
No I'm pretty sure they keep them all. I used to know a guy who classified recorded albums for the LoC, he'd just listen to music, put it in categories and then file away the physical disk. At least with music, they kept them all.
 

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archaeoroutes said:
I knew about the UK requirement to deposit a copy with the British Library. It's kind of general knowledge. So I did that.
Recently, I had copied requested for the legal deposit university libraries. Apparently you don't have to deposit anything unless they ask you to. I guess them asking means I tripped something, somewhere, which is kinda cool.
You are required by law to send one copy to the British Library. Nearly always you are then requested to send four copies to the National Library of Scotland who distribute them to the National Library for Wales, and the three members of Oxbridge: Cambridge University, Oxford University, and my alma mater Trinity College Dublin. Ebooks (or anything digital that cannot be spider scanned) are required but they are slow to demand them. The UK and Ireland legal deposit system keeps promising to move to digital only submission, but have yet to fulfil the promise. Irish residents send their one copy to Trinity College Dublin and then a similar request and distribute process takes place. Whether any of this applies to publishers not based in Ireland or Britain is a grey area. The only national library definitely requesting overseas publishers to deposit is the Library of Congress, who have not received either of my paperbacks (only one of which is still in print).

https://www.bl.uk/aboutus/legaldeposit/
 

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Anyone who has actually done their research and due diligence knows it's the law in Canada. :)

I know about this because IIRC, there's some mention of it somewhere where we get our (free) ISBNs. I've never supplied a copy of either print or digital, so I can't say it's strictly enforced. But I should imagine they are well within their rights if the choose to enforce it.

Publishers Affected by Legal Deposit
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/legal-deposit/Pages/legal-deposit.aspx#pub-effect

Deposit of Physical or Analogue Publications
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/legal-deposit/Pages/physical-analogue.aspx

Deposit of Online or Digital Publications
http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services/legal-deposit/Pages/online-digital-publications.aspx
 

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Gaylord Fancypants said:
No I'm pretty sure they keep them all. I used to know a guy who classified recorded albums for the LoC, he'd just listen to music, put it in categories and then file away the physical disk. At least with music, they kept them all.
For what it's worth, at least one author asked someone in the copyright office and was told that typically indie books are "destroyed"--which doesn't sound like any kind of preservation to me.

Anyway, the purpose of submitted copies is supposedly for the LOC collection. If there is no plan to put the books in the LOC, even if the copies are preserved somewhere, then they shouldn't be requested. It's an extra expense for the author, and it serves no purpose.

The whole system was created before self-publishing existed, and it has never been adapted to the new realities. Also maddening are the upload requirements for books that exist only in ebook format. A Word file or similar is requested. What they should be asking for is PDF, EPUB, MOBI or something similar.
 

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Simon Haynes said:
I've had letters from the NLA demanding a copy. They haven't noticed my recent releases, which may be because I published exclusively through Createspace instead of LSI, and only put the US market on my Bowker page. Or it might be because I didn't apply for a CIP entry for those books.

Just as well, given I can't get physical copies from Amazon any more.
The aussie equivalent accepts ebooks, but they have to be non drm and a bunch of other "I don't trust these government types for digital security" type shizbutte.
 

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M R Mortimer said:
The aussie equivalent accepts ebooks, but they have to be non drm and a bunch of other "I don't trust these government types for digital security" type shizbutte.
NZ's Legal Deposit office accepts ebooks. Although when I first started publishing they told me they didn't actually have the means to view the ebooks in all formats themselves. Not sure if that has changed.
The (e)books are deposited in the National Library and can be requested and viewed by the public.
 

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Bill Hiatt said:
The whole system was created before self-publishing existed, and it has never been adapted to the new realities. Also maddening are the upload requirements for books that exist only in ebook format. A Word file or similar is requested. What they should be asking for is PDF, EPUB, MOBI or something similar.
Years ago, I worked with the State Archivist in New Mexico trying to formulate electronic archiving standards. One of the problems we faced was the physical technology and file formats. We had gigabytes of documents in Word Perfect, and how do you read those when the computers that will run the software rust away? Asking for documents in Word means you have to keep computers that will run the old versions every time MicroSoft screws with their formats.
 
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The fine ONLY applies if you receive an actual demand letter and fail to submit the work. The "Mandatory" deposit is considered "Voluntary" until the point you get a demand letter (which means the LOC actually wants those physical copies for use), in which case you are subject to the fines if you refuse to comply. The government has a lot of "voluntary until we tell you you have to do it" laws on the books.

I am pretty sure every nation that is a signatory of the Berne Convention has the same requirement.

So, no, you don't have to worry about getting fined if you never sent your books. But if you get a letter and refuse to comply, then, yes, you can be fined.

In addition, from the article, it sounds like the couple went straight to lawsuit instead of just filing a request for relief, which the LOC does grant.

The blogger (this is a blog article, not a news article, so some of the information and inferences are "squishy") and the couple also don't seem to even understand copyright in general.

Since Valancourt books usually come with new material added, including commentary, prefaces, and footnotes, those works are technically copyrightable and must be deposited, the Office claims.
Well...DUH! This is copyright 101.

But there is an easy solution. All they have to do is release ALL of the books they are publishing as public domain. Because the mandatory deposit ONLY applies to works protected by copyright. If the publishers released the books to the public domain, then there is no mandatory deposit provision.

The funny part is, the type of stuff they are publishing sounds EXACTLY like the type of stuff the LOC would want included, because they are publishing obscure, forgotten works. The publishers claim they are trying to "share" and save these titles. Wouldn't depositing to the LOC forward that goal?
 
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brkingsolver said:
Years ago, I worked with the State Archivist in New Mexico trying to formulate electronic archiving standards. One of the problems we faced was the physical technology and file formats. We had gigabytes of documents in Word Perfect, and how do you read those when the computers that will run the software rust away? Asking for documents in Word means you have to keep computers that will run the old versions every time MicroSoft screws with their formats.
People forget that digital content is the least stable of all content. One server crash. One virus. One "oops, did I hit the wrong button?" and entire catalogs can be lost. As you pointed out, digital content is only as functional as the technologies that can run it. Cloud storage mitigates a lot of the risks, but at the end of the day you still need to be able to access the cloud.

A couple of years ago I was running a demo of my Post-Apocalyptic Blues RPG at a convention and at one point the players needed to find something in a ruined library. And they were all rather frustrated because how were they supposed to search an entire library for one book without computer access to the database?

I told them to make a Search check.

After they made the check, I told them "You find these strange cabinets filled with cards. The cards have a code of some sort on them, along with book data."

They looked at me confused. I told them to make a Spot check.

"You notice on the shelves that there are the same type of code as on the cards."

They eventually figured out that the numbers on the cards matched locations in the library. They had never heard of a card catalog (they made me feel really old, by the way).

So, yes, there are real, practical reasons why the Library of Congress wants physical copies of things and not just digital files.
 

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Seems like they should simply ask for "plain-text" files of the books instead of paper. If anyone is in a copyright dispute, I doubt they are going to go through the paper book line by line looking for plagiarism. Plain-text, ascii characters will presumably be read by computers. If foreign characters are needed, then extended text can be used. As mentioned about, Wordperfect is out of date, so don't use Word, PDF, epub, Mobi, HTML or any "file format" other than plain or extended text which can be "diffed" and "searched" easily.
 
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