Access to electronic resources is often restricted by contract and by technical protection measures. Contracts issued with digital works may impose conditions on access or constrain access in ways that go beyond the restrictions applied to printed resources.

These restrictions on electronic media not only inhibit access, but may also constrain other functions carried out by national bibliographic agencies. For example, security devices embedded in electronic resources may prevent the resource from being copied for preservation or prevent access to the resource after a specified period of time has elapsed.

Confidence that access to electronic resources deposited will be secure gain be built through a number of measures under the control of the NBA e.g.:

  • Restrictions may be imposed on the location from which resources may be accessed, e.g. computers physically located inside the national library
  • Restrictions may be imposed on the number of simultaneous users who may access a legal deposit resource.
  • Restrictions may be imposed on who can access a legal deposit resource, e.g., a registered user of the NBA.

However, NBAs must also protect the interests of their own stakeholders. There is a public good inherent in the free access to information. NBAs should work with government to ensure that these protections are not eroded.

IFLA's Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters (CLM) has issued a statement addressing these issues in the context of the Access to Knowledge (A2K treaties) and the WIPO Development Agenda. IFLA explicitly calls for a partnership between WIPO and libraries to enable developing countries to compete in the knowledge economy. It also urges WIPO to take control of the public domain and to ensure that resources in the public domain are not rendered inaccessible through the use of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs)