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Re: Query Re Library Responsibility for Library Patrons' Use

I think that Karl raises a very sensible question. Why do publishers try to get this clause accepted?

I think I have the answer. The reason is that they listen to their lawyers. Lawyers always (in my experience) go for the clauses that are "best" for the organisation that employs them. Smaller publishers in particular do not feel able to fight back and substitute something more likely to be accepted.

I know very well that many librarians have real problems with university attornies. A good example is the curious insistence that an international publisher should be bound by state law and a reluctance to accept the neutral accomodation that the place of jurisdiction is missed out altogether.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Karl Bridges" <Karl.Bridges@uvm.edu>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>; "Jill Taylor-Roe"
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 8:15 PM
Subject: RE: Query Re Library Responsibility for Library Patrons' Use

I think a rough analogy to this is photocopiers. In most libraries there is a posting of the appropriate legal wording regarding copyright and that's that. If someone violates that it's their responsibility not the library's. (and I realize that some schools do require everything to go through a copy centre and really enforce this more). In any event, I think people (and publishers) are generally reasonable in accepting that there are limits on what we can do in regards to user behaviour. People do what they want. It's curious to me why publishers would even try to get such language in a contract when it seems that most libraries immediately get it changed or removed. I'd be interested in seeing a posting from a publisher who has this clause who could explain their reasoning.

Quoting Jill Taylor-Roe <Jill.Taylor-Roe@newcastle.ac.uk>:

I would echo Rick's response on this one - If there are any
licence clauses I feel uncomfortable about signing up to, I
usually run them past a very helpful contact in our Law School,
and if he thinks the terms are excessive, he will often suggest
an alternative wording which we then pursue with the
publisher/vendor.  We are usually able to reach an
accommodation that suits both parties. We are particularly wary
about indemnity clauses which imply that we accept
responsibility for things we clearly have no control over.

Jill Taylor-Roe


From: owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu on behalf of Rick Anderson
Sent: Sat 24/02/2007 15:55
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: RE: Query Re Library Responsibility for Library Patrons' Use

Have any of you encountered this statement or a similar one?
How did you handle it? Thanks for your help.
I've encountered it several times, and it's always been a walking
point for us -- there's no way we would agree to license terms
that hold the library institutionally responsible for end-user
behavior.  The library will accept responsibility for what it's
capable of doing: informing end-users about the terms, doing what
it can to prevent a breach of license terms, and acting quickly
to cure a breach if it occurs.  But to accept institutional
responsibility for what patrons do would be insanity.

In my experience, it's very rare that a publisher fails to see
reason on this issue when it's clearly (and firmly) explained. In
ten years of license negotiation, I think I've walked away from
one deal over this issue.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries