Model licences and licensing software

Subject: Model licences and licensing software
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: pe 24 huhti  1998 - 17:09:29 EEST

(posted to liblicense by Ann Okerson)

What an interesting message from Edward Barrow, given that as he says,
"my loyalties tend to lie with rights holders." He proposes that
librarians should develop their own license contracts, thus giving a
perfect segue for a message about LIBLICENSE PHASE II. As you've read
here before, with funding once again from the Council on Library and
Information Resources (CLIR, formerly CLR), weUve gone ahead to develop
a downloadable generic licensing software (of the sort that one can now
buy to create personalized wills and other types of straighrforward
legal documents).

Rod Stenlake, the contract attorney who has done the development work,
has now achieved beta-mode and a few of you are testing the software for
us (we would welcome a couple more librarians and a couple more
publishers, if you could take the software for a roadtest for us in the
next month or so to see if it performs as you would like it). It is our
hope to make it available on the LIBLICENSE web site before the
beginning of the fall semester.

The LIBLICENSE software will be downloadable onto Windows95 and NT
operating systems. The software is based on our observation during
reading dozens or hundreds of licenses, that nearly all electronic
resource licenses/contracts follow a standard format. This standard
sequence, with (what we hope is) relatively bias-free language, allows
the creator of the license, either a publisher licensing TO libraries or
a library licensing FROM a provider, to move rapidly through a set of
standard terms and fill them in, make choices, and add free-form text as
necessary. ItUs easy to use and covers the territory. We forsee it as
both an educational tool and one that simplifies the lives of those who
are seeking straightforward contract language. It does provide a
straightforward format and language that can be readily understood by
anyone. It does not seek to be a 'model' in the sense of the UK
but it seeks to be a template that works for most circumstances.

(What news from the UK model license front these days?)

Now, this license software is an interface or overlay to the large array
of topics covered in the standard license. It helps express specifics
clauses such as use, users, liabilities, etc., etc. What it cannot do,
and what no model or software can do, is resolve the underlying issues.
These still need to be done between the negotiating parties.
Nonetheless, having a standard structure for doing so should advance all
of our work -- or so we and the CLIR hope.

If you are interested in doing a roadtest for us, please respond to this
list, which Rod and I monitor/moderate. We could surely use the
of a few of you, though if we are inundated with interest, we will have
to politely say no to some of our readers. Remember that you need to be
using Windows95 or NT operating systems. And that we would welcome a
couple of publishersU input.


Ann Okerson/Yale University
for Liblicense
Edward Barrow wrote:
From: Edward Barrow <>
Subject: Re: Company of Biologists

Having followed this and other related threads on this list for some
time, and despite the fact that my tribal loyalties tend to lie with
rightsholders, I can't help thinking that perhaps we've got library
licensing the wrong way round. It seems to me that the conditions of a
licence should be determined by the licensee, not by the copyright
holder. The librarian knows what terms are feasible and enforceable in
his or her institution; and practically it has to be more sensible for
common access terms to apply to all the content of a library. Even with
CD-Rom material, the fact that different usage conditions (such as
printing) could apply with each different disc loaded in the drive
placed those responsible for enforcement in an impossible situation, and
resulted more often than not in conditions being honoured more often in
the breach than the observance. I must admit it does seem rather
blinkered for a publisher to declare conditions absolutely
non-negotiable. I would have thought that everything is negotiable for a

Thus, it seems to me that libraries should develop their own licence
contracts, specific to their institution, and offer them to
rightsholders - who would of course still determine the applicable fees.

There are several problems with this approach. The first is that
librarians must have reasonable expectations, which may sometimes
involve moderating their laudable enthusiasm for the maximum
unrestricted and unremunerated dissemination of information; the second
is that the perception is that the rightsholders have all the cards. I
don't know whether it's more than a perception. And ultimately the
biggest problem is finding acceptable pricing models, because it's clear
that the current approach (current paper spend, plus or minus something,
fixed for a time) may handle the paper-digital transition but won't work

Finally, I should point out that here in the UK the problem is being
addressed by the development of 'model agreements' by joint working
groups set up by the Publishers' Association and, in the case of
academic libraries, the Joint Information Systems Committee. I would
imagine however that this kind of consensual approach in the US would be
instantly vetoed by both parties' anti-trust advisers - even though the
working groups have been careful to avoid discussion of price.

Edward Barrow

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