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ILL & Licenses

Scott Wicks started us off on an important thread least week, a thread one
might paraphrase:  "Should librarians refuse to sign contracts or licenses
for electronic content, when those contracts forbid anything that
resembles InterLibrary Loan?"  He suggested that perhaps, as a number of
publishers also affirm, in a world of electronic information, the ILL
construct is passe or irrelevant.  He asked what others thought.  

In response, two readers suggested that consideration of the needs of
smaller or less-wired libraries -- and the fact that much of the
information that is being licensed is hybrid (also exists in print format) 
-- would have us all make haste slowly, thinking carefully about how we
move into this new, fast information future.  For the most part, other
readers suggested scenarios of what a future, totally electronic world
might look like and none of those scenarios included anything that really
resembles ILL, though some imagined a potential for aggregation and
re-sale by libraries. 

It seems to me that we haven't gotten much input on Scott's initial
question and I would like to propose that we take an informal straw vote
through the auspices of Liblicense-l.  To that end, I'll send out a brief,
brief questionnaire later today.  The reason to take some kind of poll is
to help direct those librarians and copyright holders who negotiate or
sign off on electronic content licenses about how important this matter is
to the library community -- that importance is currently unclear to many
of us. And then we can go about taking up Bernie Sloan's challenge:  can
this list help shape the future of this clause in content contracts? 

Back to Scott's original question:  At our institution, we do try hard to
have ILL included in contracts;  the majority of the time we do not
succeed. Nonetheless we often go on to sign a contract when its benefits
are considerable in other ways and our campus users' needs are met.  I
agree that the rhetoric around ILL is powerful and that it is one of the
licensing areas where the parties seem pretty much at loggerheads. 

The reasons I try to have ILL included in Yale's contracts are as follows:

(1) Our librarians believe we need such leeway, in case we would be asked
to send copies of articles to other libraries and that an electronic
analog to the Act's current Section 108 (Library copying) is reasonable
(in fact, many argue it is already built in) and functional.  We want the
discretion to fill occasional requests from specialized "trading partners" 
(for example, our sciences library has a small arrangement with local,
like libraries)  or occasional requests from small libraries. 

(2) It is not clear to us that giving up on an ILL construct is either
necessary or will serve us well in the longer term; that is, the strategic
implications of a change are not clear. We think that there could well be
a traslation of this concept into the future, though we are not far enough
down the road to know how that would look.  Therefore, we prefer to keep
some semblance of it in our current electronic contracts. 

(3) We assume (and are willing to include) ILL limitations in the contract
language.  It is easiest to fall back on the CONTU "suggestion of five" as
the point beyond which copyright fees are paid to the producers or authors
or whoever the copyright owners are. Thus we don't foresee a problem for
the copyright owners.  We are NOT proposing the thin end of the wedge in
which the first online copy serves as the single copy that feeds the world
and we could not locally support those kinds of services in any case.  We
don't understand very well why the copyright owners think we are opening
the door wide to promiscuous and uncontrolled copying. 

(4) A few of the notable e-publishers do permit ILL; we are keeping track
and find little change or impact so far as a result of the 1,000 or so
ejournals we have available online at our campus.

Additionally:  We don't understand very well why our hybrid publishers
forbid our printing the e-version as an ILL copy and have their licenses
specify that we can only use the print for ILL.  The only answer I've
secured on this particular matter is that "it just makes things too easy
for the Library," which feels like an inadequate response.  If I didn't
think highly of the publisher who advanced it to me, I would also have
thought it a mean-spirited response!

Any librarians and copyright holders who want to add to or challenge any
of these points above -- please do so.   This is a very important

Thanks,  Ann Okerson
Associate Unviversity Librarian
Yale University
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