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Spain: Royal Decree on Legal Deposit of Online Content

(Aug. 19, 2015) Given the special characteristics of online publications, with a multitude of works being created daily and the difficulty of their capture, storage, and preservation, the Spanish government has changed the rules applicable to the legal deposit of these publications by issuing Royal Decree 635/2015. (Royal Decree 635/2015, BOLETIN OFICIAL DEL ESTADO (BOE) (July 25, 2015), BOE website (in Spanish).)

Royal Decree 635/2015 empowers storage centers and the National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional de Espana, BNE) to capture websites and receive by way of legal deposit all online publications that are part of Spain’s documentary heritage. This is a new means by which the BNE is able to fulfill its mission of storing and preserving electronic materials for the future. (Contenido y Novedades del Real Decreto 635/2015, de 10 de julio, por el que se regula el depósito legal de las publicaciones en línea [Contents and Innovations of Royal Decree 635/2015, of July 10, Which Regulates the Legal Deposit of Online Publications], NOTICIAS JURÍDICAS (July 27, 2015).)

Under the new rules, legal deposit is not the responsibility of the editors or publishers of the publications, but of the Internet storage centers that are in charge of the selection, tracking, and preservation of the publications’ contents. (Depósito Legal de las Publicaciones en Línea [Legal Deposit of Online Publications], BNE (July 2015).) According to Royal Decree 635/2015, a deposit should be made by automatic pickup from websites whose contents are subject to legal deposit, through special software that tracks and archives Internet content. If automatic collection is not possible, publishers and storage centers should agree on the most effective means for transferring to conservation centers the publications that are subject to legal deposit requirements. (Id.)

The BNE has been collecting web content since 2009, including eight huge collections of the .es domain. (Regulado el Depósito Legal de las Publicaciones en Internet [Regulates the Legal Deposit of Internet Publications], CONSEJO DE MINISTROS: REFERENCIA (July 10, 2015), at 21, Ministerio de la Presdiencia website.) Since early 2014, using its own resources, the BNE has carried out some collection and storage of events documented on the Internet, such as the death of Adolfo Suarez (Spain’s Prime Minister from 1975-1976), the abdication of Juan Carlos I, and local and regional elections. (Id.)

The Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society, with the support of the public company, has created the web file “BNE” in order to provide space for the legal deposit of online publications and for the transfer to it of the collection on the Internet Archive website that had previously been established for the Library. (La BNE y las Comunidades Autónomas Archivan Internet – Se Aprueba el Real Decreto que Regula el Depósito Legal de las Publicaciones en Línea [The BNE and the Autonomous Communities Archive Internet – The Royal Decree Regulating the Legal Deposit of Online Publications Is Approved], BNE website (July 10, 2015).)