Portugal has adopted Law 31/2019 published on 3 May 2019 that regulates the use of personal digital devices and allows the digital reproduction, in images, of documents, in public libraries and archives. The new law applies from 1 June 2019.
Digital devices for personal use, for the purposes of this law, include, but are not limited to, laptops, tablets, data storage media, audio playback players and headphones, digital mobile phones and digital still cameras.
The law allows the use of personal digital devices for the digital reproduction of documents in the reading rooms of public libraries and archives, without any added costs.
In view of potential copyright issues, the reader may only collect the images and digital reproductions for private use, which excludes any other form of use, such as their public distribution or commercialization. According to the law any infringing use of copyright-protected works implies the reader’s liability only and cannot affect the public institution that provides access to the work.
The public libraries and archives should require a registration of the digital devices and may impose restrictions on their use depending on the degree of degradation of documents, as well as arising from the need for preservation and restoration of documents, or in cases where access is available through a free access digital repository.