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Re: Non-exclusive licenses & copyright

     You are right, this is an interesting area for both publishers and 
     authors. At Scarecrow Press we have been slow to license any part 
     of any of our materials to online sources. We do, however, license 
     several other vendors to reproduce reviews that appear in VOYA. So 
     far, this has brought minimal revenue.
     We do sell translation rights, paperback rights, movie rights--and 
     these are similar to electronic rights. Our contract specifies how 
     much of the receipts go to the author. Whether author retains 
     copyright or not is moot. What is important is the "bundle of 
     rights" signed over to the publisher by contract. The question for 
     an author may be whether s/he wishes to retain electronic rights 
     and then attempt to market them, negotiate rights deals, and then 
     try to collect payments. It is very complex and time-consuming!
     But you are right in that different vendors may permit a library to 
     have different kinds of access to their materials, and some of this 
     material could actually be the same information appearing under 
     different license agreements. The library, in effect, pays twice 
     for the same thing. Clearly this is not a desirable situation, but 
     I don't think the solution lies in re-defining intellectual 
     property rights.
     Shirley Lambert
     Editorial Director, Scarecrow Press

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Non-exclusive licenses & copyright
Author:  <> at INet
Date:    4/26/97 11:08 PM

As a reminder, I've reproduced the previous messages in a related thread 
that debated the notion of shared copyright (good idea or bad), because 
that particular discussion is now a few weeks old. 
That thread lays the foundation for my somewhat different question.  It 
regards the current practice on the part of no small number of publishers, 
say of newspapers, journals, and reference works, to give non-exclusive 
electronic licenses to different aggregators or vendors (for example, IAC, 
Lexis-Nexis, OCLC, Blackwell).  These licenses enable the aggregators or 
vendors to deliver the materials to their customers, often packaged with 
other like materials that the vendor believes their customer will want or 
need.  (Incidentally, these vendors or aggregators are competitors or at 
least potential competitors with each other, except that their current 
offerings overlap only somewhat but nowhere near even 50%, let alone 
In any case, it is now becoming possible for a library to access the 
same work from more than one on-line provider.
I am curious about Liblicense-l readers' thoughts on the following 
questions (because they seem genuinely interesting and in some cases 
o What is the effect of this new development on library customers?  You 
might think that confusion would be one of them, as the same material 
becomes available from multiple sources:  a very different situation than 
in print on paper, isn't it?  Or is it? 
o What is its effect, practically speaking, on creators/authors/copyright 
holders?  Remember that the ownership plot thickens up under such a 
situation and looks like this:
1.  Copyright may be transferred to the publisher by the author -- or 
increasingly, it may be retained by the author with either an exclusive 
or non-exclusive right transferred to the publisher.
2.  The publisher offers a non-exclusive license to a vendor/aggregator 
to distribute (re-license) the materials to the library customer.
o How does an author or publisher decide where their best financial 
interests lie, in such an environment?  How do they decide upon a fair 
charge or pricing model now that their revenue is coming from this rather 
more diverse financial base? 
This new trend to non-exclusive online distribution feels to me as or much 
more important than the notion of authors hanging on to their copyrights. 
At least it seems parallel to it in that the vendors have only (mostly) 
non-exclusive licenses from the publishers.  Actually, I don't know
how anyone can keep ownership straight in this kind of new environment. 
Is it important to do so?
I welcome additional insights and ways to our thinking about this matter. 
Ann Okerson
Associate University Librarian
Yale University
Co-Moderator, Liblicense-l
Chris Zielinski wrote:
> As a former long-time publisher, I find the concept of jointly-held
> copyright as unappealing as, say, a co-publication where the publisher
> designation is shared - it is not a good solution for those (librarians, 
> multimedia producers, etc.) who want to make subsequent arrangements with 
> the rightsholder. 
> Chris Zielinski
> -------------------------------------------------- 
> >Indeed, a joint copyright arrangement would be more equitable for the
> >author with respect to the unforseen future applications of information 
> >technology.  However, would this not complicate the granting of reprint 
> >permission if dual consent was required for every request (i.e. the
> >acquiescence of BOTH the author and publisher)? Additionally, how
> >would such joint ownership be expressed, practically speaking, in the 
> >language of the copyright agreement without being uselessly vague ?  
> >
> >Thomas J. Shelford
> >Regional Sales Office - Elsevier Science Inc. 
> -------------------------------------------------- 
> >Reference contributions from Chris Zielinski and Peter Goldie - would not 
> >several problems (typically potential problems rather than actual!) be
> >solved if the author had joint copyright with the publisher?  That would 
> >allow the author to share in unforeseen exploitation through other media 
> >and put the author in a position to overcome misdemeanours in the 'out of 
> >print' area.
> >
> > At this point in time it could be genuinely advantageous to both sides
> >since it would avoid the necessity to attempt to hhave the contract cover 
> >technical and commercial developments - which noone can forecast
> >reasonably for the next few years. 
> >
> >Shared copyright would not necessarily imply shared royalty payments; 
> >but it would imply the author's right to be consulted and to agree.
> >
> >* John Sumsion
> >* Senior Fellow,  Dept. of Information and Library Studies, 
> >* Loughborough University
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