05 May 2009

7.0 License Agreements

7.1 Question: My organization has been offered a license agreement for a database. We want to license the database but cannot use it as we need to under the terms and conditions of the license.
Answer: Except for click-through, Web wrap or shrink wrap agreements, most licenses are negotiable. If you are faced with a license that does not meet your needs and does not appear to be negotiable, explain to the publisher how an amended agreement would better meet your needs, and try to open a discussion and negotiation to ensure that the final license is one that works for you. (2006-4)

7.2 Question: How do I determine what rights should be set out in a license agreement?
Answer: Determine how the content will be used, then ensure that the license reflects these uses. It is best to determine these rights in advance to ensure that you are meeting your needs and not simply reacting to the licensing offer from the content owner. Consult various people in your organization, from your lawyer to your researchers, consultants and librarian. (2007-1)

7.3 Question: How do you define “commercial use” or nonprofit use” in a digital license agreement?
Answer: There are no guidelines or exact definitions of these and other terms in a license agreement. The parties signing the agreement need to agree on the wording of any definition. Take the time to discuss and define these and other terms as they relate to the scope of permissible uses under the agreement. Begin your definitions by a dictionary definition of that term, then modify that definition to meet your needs. (2007-2)

7.4 Question: Why do we have to pay sometimes for journals that are very old and obviously in the public domain?
Answer: There are several possibilities. One, there may be a new copyright in a collection of journals and you are paying a fee for the collection as a whole rather than the underlying individual public domain journals. Two, the journals may be edited and the new portions of the journals may have a new copyright in them. Third, you may be paying a fee to access the journals rather than a copyright fee. (2009-2)

Added November 3, 2009:
7.5 Question: If an article has a Creative Commons ("CC") license, does that mean that the article may be freely reproduced?
Answer: No, you need to read the CC license. There are different CC licenses allowing different uses from "full" use of an item to very limited use of the item without authorized from the content owner.

For information on licensing issues, see: www.licensingdigitalcontent.blogspot.com.


NISTLibrarian1 said...

Any opinion on how the scenario of libraries lending Kindle books may ultimately turn out?

Could the Kindle books licensing restrictions exist perhaps as an offshoot of Amazon's agreements with publishers whose works they've formatted for Kindle books?

Copyrightlaws.com said...

Hi NISTLibrarian1 -- licensing is a matter between the content owner and licensee. So any sorts of arrangements are possible as long as the parties negotiate and agree to the terms and conditions in the license.