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Dear list

We are artists who work in a number of ways one of which is making
books. We have been involved in a protracted and costly legal battle
with the South African Library (which, I suppose, here in South
Africa, has the status of the Library of Congress). Legally they are
entitled to claim copies of any book published, as long as there are
two or more copies. Thus any book, produced in any way, using any
form, in an edition of two or more, must be given free of charge to
the legal deposit libraries.

We have resisted this law. Many of the books we and others produce
are extremely expensive in materials and are very labour intensive.
Some take weeks to cut and print and bind each one. Some are produced
in editions of 5 or less, and the demands of the library are becoming
seriously inhibitive, in effect destroying what may otherwise have
become a flourishing medium for artists.

How would the many book artists who subscribe to this list feel about
being legally forced to give free copies of every book they published
to the national library (here there are 5, though 4 are allowed in
terms of the law to grant exemption), even if there were only 2 or
three in the edition? Should artists be liable for this kind of legal
deposit? In the USA does the library of congress demand free copies
of limited edition books?

We would value any feedback.

Pippa and Malcolm

p.s. thanks Jack for introducing us to this list.

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