Legal deposit of online publications

On 10 July 2015 the Council of Ministers passed the Royal Decree regulating the legal deposit of online publications. This Royal Decree implements Law 23/2011, of 29 July, on Legal deposit in which websites and online publications are, for the first time, considered to be subject to legal deposit.

All types of websites and publications contained within them are subject to legal deposit, provided they include bibliographic, sound, visual, audio-visual or digital heritage pertaining to the cultures of Spain.

Given the special characteristics of these types of publications and the impossibility of capturing, storing and preserving a comprehensive range under current technological conditions, the legal text introduces a series of new points regarding the regulation of the legal deposit of the publications, using a tangible medium:

  • The deposit initiative does not lie with the publishers, but rather with the conservation centres (the Biblioteca Nacional de España and those appointed by the Autonomous Communities within the scope of their competences), who will determine the priorities for preservation in terms of online documentary heritage.
  • Online publications will not be assigned legal deposit numbers.
  • Various means are planned to facilitate the inclusion of these legal deposit publications in conservation centres:
    • Automatic capture by robots that gather information from websites, for websites and publications contained within them that are freely accessible online.
    • In the case of publications protected with usernames and passwords or those which are not automatically capturable (databases, ebooks etc.), the publishers and conservation centres will agree upon the most effective and simple way for both parties to carry out the deposit.
  • The publishers' and producers' online content obligation is limited to allowing the conservation centres to collect their publications or to facilitate the deposit when requested.

Access to the publications deposited by this means will scrupulously respect intellectual property legislation and the protection of personal data.

Law 8/2022, of May 4, which modifies Law 23/2011, of July 29, updates the previous regulations and in what refers to the legal deposit of online publications, modifies its regulation with the purpose of avoiding confusion regarding the obligation of legal deposit and clarifying that the initiative does not fall on the publishers or producers, but on the conservation centers.

Questions related to this topic may be sent to:  

Entities collaborating in the conservation and preservation of online legal deposit

The National Library of Spain, in accordance with article 10 of Royal Decree 635/2015, of July 10, which regulates the legal deposit of online publications, can establish collaboration agreements with public and private entities that have platforms for the online distribution of publications and digital resources, which they themselves edit or produce and which are considered "secure repositories", for conservation purposes, provided that these platforms meet the necessary requirements to perform said function, in accordance with according to the criteria established by the conservation centers and under their supervision.

Collaborating entities that have signed an agreement

    Related contents
    Spanish Web Archive

    Collection composed of the web sites that are collected in order to preserve documentary heritage on the Internet.