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Online and Out of Print

Dear Liblicense-l readers:  Chris Zielinskini recently posted this most
interesting message to the list and since it deals
at least indirectly with a key licensing issue for libraries, we asked if
we might share it with Liblicense-l. 

What do you think that licensees need to do to define an electronic work
as "out of print" and what may they do to prevent this happening?  Or
can they?  Chris asks the question re. authors and publishers; how
about libraries?

Ann Okerson
Co-Moderator, Liblicense-l

Forwarded message:
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 1997 16:04:27 GMT
From: (Chris Zielinski)

Many thanks to the respondents to my original query about how things
become "out of print" when they are online. To pursue this question a
little further: most respondents have suggested putting clarifications
into publishing contracts. Does anyone have an explicit suggestion for a
clause in a contract that would serve to define an acceptable period for a
work to be in print electronically before it beomes legally out of print? 

To start the ball rolling, for an electronic journal, I would imagine this
could be something like, "The article is deemed to be in print during the
issue life of this issue of the journal, and out of print as soon as the
next issue comes out, or in three months whichever is the shorter

For a journal article or book that has been printed in paper format, a
two-stage clause might be attempted: 1) a clause that relates the
electronic version to the print version in cases when both are issued at
the same time ("this electronic version of the work becomes out-of- print
when the print version goes out of print"), and 2) a clause that relates
the electronic version to the print version in cases when they are issued
at different times ("this [electonic][print] version of the work is
considered to be in print until [date], after which it will be considered
out of print, with all rights save any typographical right reverting to
the author"). 

In the latter case, how long do people think it is fair for an electronic
publisher to retain the rights to something he/she has placed on the
Internet on behalf of the author. Just because something can be kept
online and inexhaustibly accessible for ever (unlike the physical stock
depletion or unmarketable stock burden that renders paper works
out-of-print), there should surely be some consensus as to a fair term.
Anybody care to venture a limit? Six months? Six years?  Sixty years? My
preference would be 6 months. 

CHRIS ZIELINSKI Secretary General, ALCS 74 New Oxford Street, London WC1A
1EF, United Kingdom Tel: (0044)-(0)171 255 2034 - Fax: (0044)-(0)171 323
0486 <>
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