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Legal Deposit Libraries Act

There is an opinion piece in the Guardian by Nigel Newton, head of Bloomsbury Publishing, in which Newton excoriates Google for the Google Print for Libraries project. While Newton says nothing that would be news to members of this list, he makes a reference to the Legal Deposit Libraries Act that is unfamiliar to me:

"And because they [participating libraries] are copyright libraries, publishers are obliged by the Legal Deposit Libraries Act to give one copy of each book to those six copyright libraries for free. No one ever said it could be passed on in electronic form to a third party."

Can anyone shed light on this? Is the Act a UK thing, American, something besides (Ruritanian?)? The URL is http://books.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1722888,00.html, and the piece is entitled "Google's Literary Land-grab."

Joe Esposito