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RE: Clarification on SERU proposal

Joe et al,

I'm going to jump in here and offer my 2 cents worth, which may 
or may not be correct. If so, I'm sure Judy or Joe or someone can 
set me straight.

Two points about the SERU...which I think is a great idea, at 
least potentially.

1) Is it functionally equivalent to a license, from a strictly 
legal perspective? I don't know... Personally, and I'm not a 
lawyer either, I see it as more equivalent to a NISO standard, a 
codification of--in this case--rule of behavior that those 
parties who find these rules mutually agreeable can substitute 
for a license.

2) So why bother? Because if this approach works, both parties 
involved--publisher and subscriber--can dispense with the 
niggling, time-consuming business of generating, negotiating, 
signing, and filing a written agreement that consumes valuable 
time and energy that neither party actually has to spare.

If so, the big question is whether the NISO standard analogy will 
work in the marketplace. I have no idea. Myself, I think it's 
worth a try. The approach here is strictly voluntary. Getting it 
off the ground will take a few pioneers who are willing to try it 
out. Undoubtedly, if they have a legal department, they'll first 
have to run the notion by counsel.

But the potential payoff, as I see it, is the elimination of a 
substantial number of hours of labor currently being effectively 
"wasted" on an exceedingly unproductive exercise whose result--a 
signed, formal, license agreement--offers minimal benefits to 
either party.

What we're talking about here is productivity...


Irving E. Rockwood
Editor & Publisher
Middletown, CT 06457

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Joseph J.
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 6:23 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Clarification on SERU proposal


Thank you for your note, but it hasn't answered my question, 
which admittedly may be based on my utter legal ignorance.

My understanding is that even if there is not a signed hardcopy 
document, there is still a license:  a binding agreement 
concerning the terms of use for intellectual property.  What I am 
puzzled by is the phrasing of the announcement of SERU.  It seems 
to me that SERU does not eliminate licenses. Rather, it 
eliminates a hardcopy document, but the license (the binding 
agreement) is simply codified as terms of use.

If I am correct in this analysis (and I really wish a lawyer 
would jump in here and explain how this works), then saying that 
SERU does not involve a license is misleading.  There are still 
obligations for both parties, which are enforceable under law.

Joe Esposito

----- Original Message -----
From: "Judy Luther" <judy.luther@informedstrategies.com>
To: <liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:49 PM
Subject: Clarification on SERU proposal

> Hi Joe,
> One of the defining discoveries in this process was to learn 
> that as long as there was a written license agreement, it would 
> be normal for each state institution to require that their own 
> specific language be included, thus precluding any standardized 
> agreement. In part to avoid

> this situation, we sought to develop a true alternative to a 
> license agreement - rather than an alternative license 
> agreement. Librarians and publishers have noted that often we 
> are comfortable with an implied contract just as with a verbal 
> agreement. Where there is general consensus, by avoiding the 
> paperwork, we can streamline the process for anyone involved. 
> Realistically, in many transactions there

> isn't a potential loss of substantial revenue for the publisher 
> or risk for either publisher or library. With new publishers 
> who would not take issue with terms supported by librarians, 
> the SERU approach actually shortens the sales cycle and 
> eliminates the delay of processing paperwork that isn't used.
> Further comments are welcome on SERU which is available now in draft
> form with FAQs on the NISO website.
> http://www.niso.org/committees/SERU
> Judy Luther MLS, MBA
> www.InformedStrategies.com
> 610-645-7546 EDT