US software to support library licensing efforts

Subject: US software to support library licensing efforts
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: to 21 elo    1997 - 21:55:38 EEST

Dear list members,

On 13 August, Ann Okerson announced on the US liblicense-list that the
LIBLICENSE project will soon make software available that will support
librarians in drafting licensing clauses.

The software, tentatively called "The LIBLICENSE Guide to Digital
Information Licensing Agreements," will systematically query librarians
(or producers) concerning the details of the information to be licensed
and, based on that input, produce a draft license agreement. That draft
license agreement can then be sent to information publishers (or
customers) to serve as the basis for further negotiations for license
agreements with acceptable terms. The LIBLICENSE software will also
include a complete copy of the material on the LIBLICENSE web site as a
reference guide for use in constructing a draft licensing agreement.

The software works by displaying a series of screens, each asking the
user to input information relevant to particular terms of a licensing
agreement (e.g., a description of the subject matter of the license, the
names and addresses of the Licensor and Licensee, and the uses to which
the licensed materials will be put). As the user enters data, the draft
license is updated to include their information. Based on the
significant number of electronic content licenses that the Yale Library
has assembled over the past couple of years, we expect that the draft
license (output by the software) will contain all the provisions that
have commonly been included in licensing agreements for digital
information, providing the user with the option of selecting those
provisions he or she wishes to be in a particular agreement. Easy to
follow instructions are included for each entry, and the user can
consult the relevant discussion in the LIBLICENSE reference guide for
additional information and/or sample contract language. In many cases,
users will simply accept the clauses included in the draft agreement.

When the user has answered all the questions, a completed draft
containing all the information selected by the user is displayed. The
user may make any changes to the draft in the rich-text editor that is
included with the program. When the user is done, the agreement can be
printed and sent to the licensor (licensee).

This software will:

% Be a learning tool for librarians and others who use it, including
publishers entering the electronic licensing arena.
% Serve customers and electronic content providers.
% Make it possible for effective, efficient, standard electronic content
license creation.
% Help libraries and publishers to scale up this side of their work to
meet the increasing number of license deals that need to be made.
% Be readily available to all who need it.
% Advance the electronic marketplace.

Schedule (tentative):

Develop working prototype of software and online reference guide for
testing. This includes coding the software and drafting contractual
language for inclusion in model agreements.
- By September 30th

Beta test software by potential users.
- By October 31st

Incorporate information from beta testing into subsequent iterations of
- By November 30th

Port software to other platforms
- By January 1998

Ann Okerson & Rodney Stenlake

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