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Re: Elsevier Accepts Modified License Agreement

Question: Sorry for asking, but acronyms abound in librarianship. What
does CONTU stand for in the message below? 

Alan Edelson, Ph.D.

[MOD NOTE:  "CONTU" isn't actually a library acronym -- amazing, isn't
it?  CONTU dates back to the early days of the 1976 Copyright Act
of the U.S.  The following explanatory excerpt is taken from p. 53 of
Laura Gasaway and Sarah Wiant, LIBRARIES AND COPYRIGHT:  A GUIDE TO
COPYRIGHT LAW IN THE 1990s,  Washington DC, Special Libraries Assn, 1994.

"While the Act was still being debated, controversy erupted over the
uncertain nature of the terms used in the subsection [108 - Library
copying] and specifically how its restrictions would affect interlibrary
networks and other systems geared toward the exchange of photcopies.
To eliminate some of the confusion, the National Commission on New
Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU) was appointed by Congress
and one of its charges was to produce guidelines to cover interlibary loan
copying affected by section 108(g)(2).  These guidelines are not the law
itself nor do they provide explicit rules or directions that govern all
situations.  Libraries that act within the limitations of the
guidelines, however, are presumptively abiding by the law by not copying
in such aggregate quantities as to substantiate for subscription to or
purchase of the work.

"Section (1)(a) of the Interlibrary Loan (sometimes called the CONTU)
guidelines states that within any calendar year, copying in excess of five
articles from a periodical title released within the past five years
violates the section 108(g)(2) proscription of systematic copying.  Note
the two different time limits: only five copies within a year, but if the
periodical issue is over five years old, then the guidelines do not
apply." ]

> Date: Wed, 02 Jul 1997 16:16:51 +0200
> From: ESO Garching Librarian <esolib@ESO.ORG>
> To:,
> Subject: Elsevier accepts modified License Agreement
> [This message was cross-posted to slapam-l and Liblicens-l. Please
> excuse the duplication.]
> Those colleagues who subscribe to the electronic version of "New
> Astronomy" will have received the corresponding License Agreement
> from Elsevier during recent weeks. When checking the wording,
> we recognized that the contract, like contracts of many
> other publishers, explicitly prohibited Interlibrary Loan using
> the electronic edition:
>         "Usage Restrictions, Interlibrary Lending.
>         Except as expressly permitted in Section 1.4 above,
>         access to the Journal may not, directly or indirectly,
>         be used [...]:
>         [...]
>         - for the purpose of making interlibrary loans.
> After discussing extensively with Elsevier and explaining our
> reasons for not being able to sign such an agreement, we
> finally slightly modified this paragraph so that it read:
>         " - for the purpose of making interlibrary loans except
>             in accordance with current copyright law and CONTU
>             guidelines."
> The first modified contract now has passed Elsevier's Legal
> Department and was returned without further comments.
> Therefore, we have high hopes that all (modified) contracts
> will be approved.
> Current copyright typically favors copyright owners over users.
> We regard maintaining the balance between these rights
> as represented by ILL as an essential librarian's task in the
> digital age. The example mentioned above shows that librarians
> should continue to explain to publishers their reasons for not
> accepting particular paragraphs in contracts and thus work
> towards fair and acceptable settings also with regard to electronic
> publications. It is also hoped that other publishers follow the
> positive example Elsevier has given.
> Uta Grothkopf                           Ellen Bouton
> ESO Library                             NRAO Library
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