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Non-exclusive licenses & copyright -Reply

Is the notion of non-exclusive licenses to different electronic
vendors or aggregators really new?  Publishers of a & i
services have made their databases available for years over
many hosts on a non-exclusive basis -- Dialog, DataStar,
JICST, Lexis-Nexis, STN, Ovid, OCLC and others now gone. 
The databases are also available for local licensing and on
CD-ROM.  The customer then chooses the access source.

The terms and conditions of sale to the library often vary per
host and the library or individual user makes decisions in the
context of the software, the other services and databases on
that host (one-stop shopping), the price, etc.  

Now we will  have a similar situation with full text and
reference works.  I would think this is a healthy competitive
situation.  Indeed, we have regularly been told to be wary of
using any one electronic method as an exclusive road to the
market.  (We also don't use one subscription agent in the
paper world.)
As to the effect on the creators/copyright holders, the
questions are indeed, as Ann suggests, economic.  I am not
certain the ownership plot really thickens, but the juggling of
various sources of revenue (and their potential cannibalization
effects) certainly is not straightforward.  Most publishers
therefore insist on retaining control over their pricing.  

To look at electronic distribution as simply "additional
income" (as some would-be vendors try to portray it) is 
naive.  In our scholarly world we know there is little or no
"additional" money to fund acquisitions.  There will be a
reallocation of funds over time.  The decision the publisher (or
author) must make, which Ann noted, is where is the best
financial interest?  And I agree, it is not easy or clear at the

Karen Hunter
Senior Vice President
Elsevier Science
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