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Re: Perpetual access

Sara Randall wrote:

> Looking at the responses to this question, perpetual access might be less
> of an issue in the cases where the library physically has the data at
> their site (or designated location). In the case of CD-ROMs or locally
> loading data retention of the data after discontinuing the subscription
> may be negotiated. For these instances the library already has the
> resources to continue to make the information available to the user.
> However, having access to the data may not be enough. If the data is
> provided in proprietary format that requires vendor supplied software
> support issues could arise. If the library is no longer paying a license
> fee, they are presumably no longer getting support for this software. So
> what happens if there are problems with the software? Perhaps it was
> written on a now obsolete version of an operating system.

As the Legal Advisor to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, I am
intimately involved with licensing data sets to the Social Sciences Data
Archive (SSDA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I also oversee the
licensing of our other digital statistical products provided to the public
and research centers. 

Drawing on my own experience in this matter, I was pleased to read Sara
Randall's concise practical analysis of the perpetual access question
being currently addressed by the list. I would like to point out that this
analysis made a very clear distinction between purchase of the means of
providing the data/information (ie- cd-rom etc..) and subscription to a
vendor's on-line data/information service. 

>From a strictly legal point of view, the first instance is usually one of
sale of the medium (with a licensing of the content), while the second
instance is that of a service agreement allowing subscriber to access
data, without purchasing the means by which the data is supplied, along
with a licensing agreement relating to data/information so accessed. 

These two legal models reflect different economic models, different
practical issues and even differences in philosophical orientation. While
providing a subscription via cd-rom is analogous to providing a printed
copy of the subscribed material, a subscription to a vendor's data base is
a wholly new invention, typical of the possibilities opened by digital
technology. The topography of this new digital environment is still in its
embryonic stage, and its development will be influenced by those issues so
succinctly outlined by Ms. Randall. 

Brian Negin, Legal Advisor
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics
Tel: 972-2-6553200  Fax: 972-2-6553543
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