Re: The role of subscription agents

Subject: Re: The role of subscription agents
From: jamie wodetzki (
Date: la 06 helmi  1971 - 05:37:41 EET

Emanuella Giavarra wrote:
> What role will be left for the reproduction rights organisations or other
> collecting societies?

And Robbert Fisher wrote:
> In a sense the subscription agents maybe a way to avoid the problems of
> kartel and competition legislation with standard contracts. If these
> contracts would be more or less pre-scribed by a single collecting society
> (in each Member State) it would probably be against competition rules...

My short answer to Emanuella's question is: who cares? It would be a big
mistake for us to assume that every existing player must be allocated a
position in the new game. If subscription agents can solve copyright
management problems without the help of the collecting societies, and
users/libraries choose to use them, that's their choice.

Having said that, I don't want to be seen as discounting the role of the
collecting societies. The subscription agents may play a bigger role in
the 'site licence' model, but if we move towards a pay-pre-use model (the
superdistibution model, for example), requiring sophisticated monitoring
and reporting of use, and distribution to multiple copyright owners
(publishers and authors), then it is the collecting societies who will
have the experience and skills to get the job done. I see the
subscription agents as having a role at improving the 'front end' of the
licensing picture, where, for example, one publisher supplies content and
spells out normal terms of use for a defined user group.

But the simple fact is that it is very hard to predict who will play what
role in the info future. We should encourage all players, old and new, to
do anything that makes things work better. If subscription agents listen
more closely to library needs, then what loyalty do libraries owe to the
collecting societies?

Jamie Wodetzki <> | W 616 262 1273
Copyright Research Officer \ / H 616 239 6113
                                          a c l i s
No responsibility taken for harm arising / \ F 616 273 4493
from reliance on comments made herein / \ M 014 903 875

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