Licensing Resource Links

Last updated March 2018

Guides and Tools  |  Laws  |  Organizations

Guides and Tools

  • Copyright & Fair Use: A joint effort between Stanford University Libraries and Nolo Press, this searchable portal provides statutes, decisions, commentary, and research aids related to copyright.
  • Copyright Resource Guide: This Indiana University site is intended to guide users with copyright-related questions to the most appropriate university resource. This purpose of the site is “to attempt the provision a general educational resource, in place of the former Copyright Management Center at IUPUI [Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis].” Much of this information is also recreated at the new Web site of Columbia University Libraries Copyright Advisory Office.
  • Creative Commons: One of the world’s leading commercial licensing initiatives, the Creative Commons provides licenses that present a viable copyright alternative.
  • Dangerous Terms: A User’s Guide to EULAs: While this Februrary 2005 guide, published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, focuses on prohibitive contract clauses that appear in software end-user license agreements (EULAs), the terms are important to database licensees because these terms can appear in negotiated, written license agreements.
  • The Full Guide to Legal Contract Management: Contracts hold important business deals together, and tie employees into legal commitments with a company. This resource will outline all aspects of contract management, serving to provide clarity for any organisation looking to outsource their requirements.
  • Getty Museum Educational Site Licensing Project: MESL was a two-year (1995–97) collaborative project involving seven collecting institutions and seven universities aimed at defining the terms and conditions for the educational use of digitized museum images and related information.
    • Delivering Digital Images: This two-year project explored the legal, technical, and practical issues involved in using digital images of museum collections for educational purposes. The report includes essays by project participants for the fourteen museums and universities that participated in this project, and recommends terms and conditions for distributing digital museum images via the Internet and/or university campus networks. The item is no longer available directly from the Getty Museum, but the link above allows the book to be purchased from
    • Images Online: This companion volume to Delivering Digital Images includes nine essays by project participants highlighting their experiences and recommendations. It covers the impact of digital image availability on teaching and classroom interactions and on university and museum infrastructures, and also speculates about legal issues, including the site licensing model. Like its companion volume, Images Online is no longer available directly from the Getty Museum, but may be purchased from
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions: This 2001 resource presents a “set of basic principles that should prevail in the contractual relationship and written contracts between libraries and information providers.”
  • It’s All in the Fine Print: Online Resources for Software and Database License Review: Prepared by the University of Texas’ Office of the General Counsel of the University of Texas, and part of that institution’s Copyright Crash Course, this site provides information on a variety of issues, including contract review, objectives, trends in contract processing, options for reviewing, and docketing.
  • LIBLICENSE-L Listserv: A long-running, archived listserv where participants routinely cover issues concerning copyright, licensing, librarianship, and open access.
  • LIBLICENSE Interlibrary Loan poll: Results of a 1997 straw poll of LIBLICENSE subscribers.
  • Licensing Digital Resources (.pdf): A 2001 guide from European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) that summarizes the licensing process and some of its pitfalls.
  • Licensing Resources: Copyright-based licensing resources from the University of Texas.
  • Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS): LOCKSS is a digital preservation initiative and an open-source software protocol that provides librarians with a way to collect, store, preserve, and provide access to their own, local copy of authorized, digital, database content. The Controlled LOCKSS (CLOCKSS) initiative is newer than LOCKSS, and is a partnership between libraries and publishers that are “committed to ensuring long-term access to scholarly work in digital format.” Also, a comparison between LOCKSS and CLOCKSS(.pdf)
  • Microsoft Licensing Policies: Answers to frequently asked questions regarding Microsoft software licensing policies for patents, source code, and software.
  • NDA 101: What Is a Non-Disclosure Agreement?: In its most basic form, a nondisclosure agreement is a legally enforceable contract that creates a confidential relationship between a person who holds some kind of trade secret and a person to whom the secret will be disclosed. This guide helps understand and manage such agreements.
  • National Paralegal College: Quick and very helpful overview of Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights.
  • The Open Negotiation Education for Academic Libraries (ONEAL) project is a collaboration between Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis, Grand Valley State University, and Belmont University to develop curricula and open educational resources to support teaching negotiation education within academic libraries and in Master of Library Science (MLS/MLIS) programs. These educational resources will teach negotiation theory and strategy using academic library context of negotiating third-party content provider agreements.
  • Open Access Newsletter: Edited by Peter Suber, this publication is one of the most widely read and influential publications about open access principles within the educational sphere.
  • Section 108 Study Group Report: The Section 108 Study Group is a select committee of copyright experts, convened by the Library of Congress, and charged with updating for the digital world the Copyright Act’s balance between the rights of creators and copyright owners and the needs of libraries and archives. The Study Group released its final recommendations (.pdf) to the Librarian of Congress in March 2008. These recommendations identify flashpoints between libraries and publishers that mirror flashpoints in database licensing negotiations.
  • Shared E-Resources Understanding: The Shared E-Resource Understanding (“SERU”) is a National Information Standards Organization initiative that seeks to remove formal publishing agreements from the information acquisition transaction between publishers and libraries.
  • TRLN Guide to Negotiating Accessibility in E-Resource Licenses (December 2022)  This guide was created to help TRLN member libraries engage in conversations with vendors around e-resource accessibility. Recognizing that licensing is key to codifying the shared understandings and priorities of vendors and libraries, the TRLN E-Resources Management Working Group sought to create “a reference tool for library staff involved in licensing and e-resources management as they advocate for strong accessibility assurances in their formal contracts with service and content providers.”



  • American Association of Law Libraries: The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is the principal library representative organization for law libraries in the United States. “Working with its Copyright Committee, AALL monitors many legislative, political and judicial developments that affect domestic and international copyright law.” The Washington Office began publishing Washington Blawg, a policy-oriented Web log, in 2008.
  • American Association of Museums: The American Association of Museums helps museum staff, boards, and volunteers to better serve the public through advocacy, professional education, information exchange, accreditation, and guidance on current professional standards of performance.
  • American Library Association, Washington Office: The American Library Association (ALA) is the largest library representative organization in the United States, and its Washington Office represents the organization and the library community before Congress. ALA maintains separate Web presences for its Office of Government Relations, which follows and influences legislation, policy, and regulatory issues that affect librarianship, and its Office for Information Technology Policy, a sister office that represents library interests in information policy debates. In addition, ALA maintains an online presence related specifically to copyright issues.
  • Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers: The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) describes itself as “the international trade association for not-for-profit publishers and those who work with them.” The Association publishes a quarterly journal, Learned Publishing, and an electronic newsletter, ALPSP Alert.
  • Association of Research Libraries: The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) represents the information, business, and policy interests of more than 120 academic research libraries in the United States and Canada.
  • Copyright Clearance Center: The Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) is a rights-licensing and fee-collections agency for more than 9,600 publishers. CCC licenses rights to more than 1.75 million works (mostly print), and is the United States representative to the International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organizations. CCC also investigates allegations of copyright infringement that involve works of its customers.
  • The Copyright Licensing Agency: The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) is a rights-licensing and fee-collections agency for the United Kingdom, and is the United Kingdom’s representative to the International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organizations.
  • International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions: Founded in Scotland in 1927, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions is an international organization that represents the interests of library and information services and their users in global affairs. IFLA’s site contains important current and historical licensing information, including a description of the Coordinating Project for Electronic Authors’ Right Management Systems (COPEARMS). COPEARMS was a late 1990s project with the mission to assist other EC-financed projects with intellectual property rights (IPR) management to develop and implement interoperable Electronic Copyright Management Systems (ECMS).
  • International Federation of Reproductive Rights Organizations: The International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO) is an organization that represents the interests worldwide of reproductive rights organizations. Reproductive rights organizations are businesses that manage reproduction licenses of copyright owners, and collect licensing fees on those owners’ behalf. The Copyright Clearance Center (see above) is a founding member of IFRRO and the organization’s U.S. representative.
  • What Is the Public Domain?: Some people hold the mistaken idea that anything on the Internet is available for public use. This is not correct. Content published on the Internet has the same copyright protections offered to any other published material. What makes the Internet more tricky is that people from all over the globe publish on the Internet and consume its content. But some works are definitely available without restrictions, and these are called public domain works. “Public domain” refers to works not protected by copyright law.
  • World Intellectual Property Organization: The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an intergovernmental agency within the United Nations that promotes intellectual property protection and enforcement throughout the world. Established in 1967, WIPO administers several important multilateral treaties in the intellectual property arena, including the Berne Convention and the WIPO Copyright Treaty.



  • Copyright Term Extension Act (.pdf): The Senate bill (S. 505) that extended the copyright term under the Copyright Act of 1976. This law has been codified in the Copyright Act at Section 302. Arizona State University law professor Dennis Karjala also maintains a site that maintains detailed links to commentary, legislative materials, and other resources on this issue.
  • Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act: There are several resources that document the attempts to make the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) a model law. As of this writing, only Maryland and Virginia have enacted UCITA legislation.
  • United States Copyright Office: The United States Copyright Office maintains a comprehensive Web site of copyright resources, including a full version of the Copyright Act of 1976. The Office also reserves a portion of the site that has information about the administration of the copyright law’s compulsory licensing provisions.


Last updated: June 17, 2023

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