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Clarification on SERU proposal


I'm going to post a response to John Cox's message shortly and I 
think you might find his elucidation of contract law helpful. 
You are correct that the elimination of the written license 
agreement does not ignore the fact that agreements fall under 
contract law. What will be in writing is what used to be (and may 
still be) on a purchase order: the price, the length of the 
access and the product that is being accessed.

The motivation for SERU is to eliminate unnecessary paperwork in 
the case where both the library and publisher are comfortable 
doing so. This may not apply to all deals as either publishers or 
librarians may want a contract in dealing with consortia, or 
content over X dollars. However, there are a growing number of 
publishers for whom the burden makes no sense and a growing 
number of products where the cost of the paperwork can exceed the 
cost of the product.

Judy Luther


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