Model Licenses

Download the LIBLICENSE Standard Licensing Agreement (Revised May 2008)

The LIBLICENSE Standard Licensing Agreement is part of an ongoing effort to provide timely and responsive information and assistance to librarians involved in licensing and maintaining digital collections. The terms of the Standard Licensing Agreement will form the basis of a revision of the LIBLICENSE Web site.

The LIBLICENSE Standard Licensing Agreement is an attempt to reach consensus on the basic terms of contracts to license digital information between university libraries and academic publishers. Originally sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources, the Digital Library Federation, and Yale University Library, it represents the contributions of numerous college and university librarians, lawyers and other university officials responsible for licensing, as well as significant input from representatives of the academic publishing community.

The LIBLICENSE Standard Licensing Agreement is neither the first nor the only attempt to draft a standardized contract for licensing digital information. Draft “standardized” or “model” agreements have been created by John Cox Associates, the Joint Information Systems Committee, the National Electronic Site License Initiative, and others. What distinguishes the LIBLICENSE Standard Licensing Agreement is that it reflects the particular concerns of the university library community. For example, the LIBLICENSE Standard Draft contains clauses that directly address several issues of particular concern to university librarians, including (1) Interlibrary Loan of digital information, (2) variations in pricing models for digital information and (3) specific uses of digital information often encountered in the university library environment. In addition, the LIBLICENSE Draft seeks to set forth a reasonable and realistic framework of mutual performance obligations for publishers and university libraries. In this way, the LIBLICENSE Draft can serve both as a general educational tool for all parties involved in the dissemination of digital information as well as a starting point for specific contract negotiations.

As such, the LIBLICENSE Standard Agreement provides both a “model” that can be used by university librarians in negotiating particular licensing agreements and, more generally, as a statement by the academic library community of what it considers acceptable policy and practice for licensing digital information. In connection with the latter goal, it is hoped that university libraries throughout the international academic community will come to endorse this or future versions of the Standard Licensing Agreement as an appropriate starting point for negotiating digital licenses.

It is neither expected nor intended that this draft Standard Licensing Agreement be the last word on contract terms for digital materials. To the contrary, we encourage all members of the academic and publishing communities involved with the distribution of digital materials to comment on, criticize, add to, and subtract from this draft. Comments also may be e-mailed directly to us. Revised versions reflecting user comments as well as changes in the digital information environment will be posted periodically on this Web site. We will also maintain an archive of all prior drafts.


Additional Model Licenses


Last updated: September 5, 2013

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