Sunday, February 25

Video games are already cultural heritage by law: those developed in Spain will enter the National Library

Spain is going to start considering videogames national cultural heritage by law. The Culture Commission of the Congress of Deputies has approved this Tuesday the reform of the legal deposit rule that regulates this process to include these digital creations and oblige the National Library to keep at least one digital copy of each of those developed in our country and, if any, also physical.

Legal deposit is an obligation imposed by law for authors and publishers to deposit copies of their creations with the corresponding public preservation entities. Its objective is to collect and preserve the cultural and intellectual heritage of the country and make it available to citizens, as explained by the National Library of Spain on its website.

Until now, all bibliographic, sound, visual, audiovisual and digital works produced or published in Spain were subject to legal deposit. A definition in which videogames could be framed, as audiovisual and digital creations, but which it did not mention them explicitly as the reform does now normative.

The National Library already began to consider video games as cultural heritage in 2020, equating them to cultural creations such as books. At that time, the institution announced that it was launching a campaign to collect all the video games that you did not yet have in your background with the help of the sector and various associations, and that it had agreed with Spanish video game producers to deposit a copy of everything they published from that moment on. And in 2021 he launched a similar appeal. Therefore, the legislative reform agreed upon in Congress comes to normatively reform that initiative of two years ago.

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The difference that the reform represents with respect to the 2018 initiative, apart from the legal support for the conservation fund, is that video game developers now are obliged to send a copy to the National Library of all the products they launch. Before that shipment was voluntary.

The reform, however, not only introduces novelties for video games. So, for example, also recognizes the Spanish Film Library as an official conservation center, institution that establishes as a reference to preserve and spread the cinematographic heritage of our country. Previously, films were considered heritage publications subject to legal deposit, but did not have a specific conservation center by law.

The initiative to reform the rule of legal deposit of publications considered cultural heritage has been approved by the Culture Commission of Congress, but has not yet been promulgated, since it must first be ratified by the Senate. Therefore, the date on which it will come into force is still unknown.

Image | Carlos Delgado

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