NASIG 2009: Informing Licensing Stakeholders

Towards a More Effective Negotiation

Presenters: Lisa Sibert, Micheline Westfall, Selden Lamoreux, Clint Chamberlain (moderator), Vida Damijonaitis, and Brett Rubinstein

Licensing as a process has not been improving very much. Some publishers are willing to negotiate changes, but some are still resistant. It often takes months to a year to receive fully signed licenses from publishers, which can tie up access or institutional processes. Negotiation time is, of course, a factor, but it should not effect the time it takes for both parties to sign and distribute copies once the language is agreed upon. One panelist noted that larger publishers are often less willing to negotiate than smaller ones. Damijonaitis stated that licenses are touched at fourteen different points in the process on their end, which plays into the length of time.

Publishers are concerned with the way the content is being used and making sure that it is not abused (without consequences). Is it necessary to put copyright violation language in licenses or can it live on purchase orders? Springer has not had any copyright violations that needed to be enforced in the past five or six years. They work with their customers to solve any problems as they come up, and libraries have been quick to deal with the situation. On the library side, some legal departments are not willing to allow libraries to participate in SERU.

Deal breakers: not allowing walk-ins, adjunct faculty, interlibrary loan, governing law, and basic fair use provisions. Usage statistics and uptime guarantees are important and sometimes difficult to negotiate. LibLicense is useful for getting effective language that publishers have agreed to in the past.

It’s not the libraries who tend to be the abusers of license terms or copyright, it’s the users. Libraries are willing to work with publishers, but if the technology has grown to the point where it is too difficult for the library to police use, then some other approach is needed. When we work with publishers that don’t require licenses or use just purchase orders, there is less paperwork, but it also doesn’t indemnify the institution, which is critical in some cases.

Bob Boissy notes that no sales person gets any benefit from long negotiations. They want a sale. They want an invoice. Libraries are interested in getting the content as quickly as possible. I think we all are coming at this with the same desired outcome.

One thought on “NASIG 2009: Informing Licensing Stakeholders”

  1. A side note. An important factor with getting to the invoice point is reconciling the list of titles in a deal. This is especially true with the larger publishing houses. Serials and Electronic Resource Librarians are pressed for time, and are handling a lot of spreadsheets. Agents and publishers are similarly encumbered. All parties should consider what they can do to keep better, cleaner lists over time. Transparent, web-based interfaces would help.

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