White Paper:
Trends in Licensing
Selden Durgom Lamoureux, Electronic Resources Librarian,
North Carolina State University Libraries
James Stemper, Electronic Resources Librarian,
University of Minnesota Libraries
Introduction
Snational1990s,
ince the publishers and libraries increasingly use license agree-
ments to establish use permissions that previously had been guided by
copyright law. An important and traditional mission of the
research library, to share resources with other libraries, has been affected by this
shift away from copyright law to contract law. While copyright law recognizes and
addresses interlibrary loan (ILL), there remains no single licensing standard for
ILL. Currently, the overwhelming majority of publishers allow some form of ILL;
and only a minority of publishers restrict lending to the same country.
Not all licenses, however, allow ILL, or allow it to the same degree. Given
the importance of resource sharing to research libraries and to the communities
they serve, research libraries should actively promote inclusion of ILL privileges
when negotiating license agreements or add language stating that nothing in the
license may restrict exceptions permitted under copyright law. If publishers see
that libraries are willing to sign away key ILL rights for service to “secondary”
user communities, increasing numbers may disallow ILL privileges. Under such
circumstances, the result of moving to licensed electronic versions rather than
purchased print versions would leave research libraries with no right to lend to
or obtain non-subscribed materials from peers.1 Finally, while many publishers
show a great willingness to support ILL, the language used to express permis-
sions is often contradictory, suggesting a lack of understanding of ILL tools and
practice. There would be tremendous value in having greater uniformity and
clarity in licensing terms and conditions.
ILL and Electronic Journals
Informal surveys of ILL clauses in academic library licenses indicate two principle
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JUNE 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC