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RE: Automatic Renewal in Licenses?

I do not know what the law is, and think it might vary by state, but I do
know what the problem is:
Automatic renewal was, I think, common with paper--subscriptiions were
normally enterted on a "till forbid" basis , under the assumption that
most libraries continued all of theirs' almost all the time, and that
having a subscription expire each year and need to be reinstated ran a
great risk of missing issues. They were normally ordered through an agent,
and tthose were the instructions given--the agent generally would also
have been willing to have the library subscribe year by year. Even if the
subscriptions themselves could not be ordered on an aautomatic renewal
basis--as was the case with many non-academic titles, the agent could
still be given such instructions. And conceivably the same might apply to
legal restrictions on the publishers. (The point of such legal
restrictions is to prevent abuses involving personal suibscribers.)
For some of the early database services, contracts were entered on the
same basis--with the added factor than interruption of service would be
noticed by the patron much sooner. But this meant that the library had to
have a way of checking that the subscriptions were still wanted each year
before the cancellation date. Doing this usually was the responsibility of
the acquisitions dept., the relevant selector, and the e-resources
commitee or the equivalent. Unfortunately, the divided responsibility
meant that in many cases, cancellations were not made in time. Further,
these subscriptions were not normally ordered through agents, and the
library had to track them as exceptions. Since each contract involved a
great deal of money compared to an ordinary journal subscription , these
mistakes were expensive. .
Many of the earlier e-journal publishers, especially those who sold the
electronic access as an add-on, then switched to year-by-year renewal for
at least the electronic version. Since sometimes the print was ordered
through the agent and the electronic supplementary fee paid to the
publisher, many erros were inevitable.  journals stopped working on Jan.
1, and sometimes took many months to get started again. The publishers
instituted the same month's grace period common in paper--and the result
was that many stopped working on Feb.1.
By now most libraries have a way of tracking this, and there are fewer
problems of that sort. So from the point of view of the libraries, either
system can work.  (Or fail).
David Goodman
LIU School of Library and Information science

-----Original Message----- 
From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu on behalf of Ann Okerson 
Sent: Sun 6/6/2004 4:51 PM 
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu 
Subject: Automatic Renewal in Licenses?

Date: Fri, 28 May 2004 15:28:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: amy beitzel <amy.beitzel@montgomerycountymd.gov>
Subject: Liblicense Web Site Feedback
I've heard that any mention of "automatic renewal" in a license agreement
is now illegal.  Can you cite me the law pertaining to this?
Vendors may not automatically renew online subscription databases, in
other words.