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RE: Clarification on SERU proposal


We already 'try' in that we encourage our subscribers NOT to sign 
a license when they subscribe to our online services. Our 
thinking was that if there was no need for a license when we 
supplied print, why would we need one when we supply online 
services? Copyright and commercial laws that worked perfectly 
well to protect both parties in the print world work perfectly 
well for online services too. We post some terms and conditions 
on our site for those who are interested, but we do NOT require 
click-through to access the content.

We've been following this policy since 2001, when we launched our 
online service. I'm glad to report that a good majority of our 
subscribers are quite content to subscribe without the need to 
discuss licenses - however, there are some (especially in the US) 
who insist on having one. We will then negotiate, using whereever 
possible the licensingmodels.com licenses as a starting point. It 
is indeed tedious and time-consuming. I wish more libraries (and 
their masters) would realise that this work seems only to benefit 

I hope this message encourages other publishers and librarians to 
adopt a 'no license needed' policy.

Toby Green
Head of Publishing
OECD Publishing
Public Affairs and Communications Directorate
http://www.SourceOECD.org  - our award-winning e-library
http://www.oecd.org/OECDdirect  - our new title alerting service

-----Original Message-----
[mailto:owner-liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu] On Behalf Of Irving Rockwood
Sent: 23 March, 2007 11:31 PM
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: 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