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Was Farmdoc a book? Legal deposit questions (1968)
By law, a
copy of every UK print publication must be given to the British Library
by its publishers, and to five other major libraries that request it.
This system is called legal deposit and has been a part of English law
since 1662. However, the first legislation to extend this to non-print
publications dates only from 2003. Prior to then the rules
remained those of 1911.
Monty immediately sought the advice of his solicitor, Geoffry Cohen, a near neighbour when he'd opened for business at the house called Derwent, hence by now a long-time advisor.
In doing so, Monty commented: "The services to which they refer are very complicated documentation services and I have an idea that we are not required to send them copies. If we are so required it will be a terrible blow because the volume of material is enormous and in any case I am certain they would not wish to receive it all."
Cohen concurred. The question in his view was: what is a book? "This is not given an exclusive definition in section 15 of the Act but it is said to include 'every part or division of a book, pamphlet, sheet of letter press, sheet of music, map, plan, chart or table separately published.' "I cannot think that, by stretch of the imagination, loose-leaf punch cards and magnetic tape can come within that definition."
That view is believed to have prevailed, but confirmation of this by any reader who knows for sure would be welcome.