- The National Library of Scotland is entitled by law to receive a copy of any work published in the United Kingdom, free of charge from the publisher. To obtain it, the Library should make a request in writing within 12 months of the date of publication, though the Library is also pleased to receive publications which have not been claimed. The law which entitles the Library to do this is the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003.
- All printed works are covered by this legislation, including books, pamphlets, single sheets, maps, printed music, journals and newspapers.
- Non-Print Publications: The Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003 provides for supplementary regulations to be introduced to extend legal deposit to include non-print publications. At present, the Code of Practice for the Voluntary Deposit of Non-Print Publications, which has been in effect since January 2000, allows the legal deposit libraries to request a copy of certain categories of non-print publication.
- The need to deposit a book does not depend on its having been allocated an International Standard Book or Serial Number (ISBN) or (ISSN), but on whether or not it can be considered to have been published. A work is said to be published when copies of it are issued to the public. The place of publication or printing, the nature of the imprint and the size of distribution are immaterial. It is therefore the act of issuing or distributing to the public in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland which renders a work liable to deposit.
- Publishers may choose to send deposit copies of their publications for the National Library of Scotland either direct to the Legal Deposit Team, or to the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries.
- Official registration of copyright is no longer necessary in the United Kingdom. When publications are supplied to the Library a receipt is issued to the publisher. This acknowledges delivery of the publication, but has no bearing on the ownership of copyright.