Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ebooks Legalese

In the session Ebooks Legalese, UAA librarian Jodee Kuden, gave a concise rundown of the multitude of different ways of acquiring digital content ranging from subscriptions to databases to the purchase of access to ebooks. She mentioned the different formats of audio and text ebooks with the possibility of buying individual titles or packages of titles, which are sometimes more economical. Discussed was the need to understand whether you as the buyer are hosting the content yourself or more likely linking to a vendor or publishers platform. In that case it is important to look at whether you are paying for annual access to the content or site or perpetual access and what does that mean if the vendor or publisher goes out of business or is acquired by another company. It is very important to look at the licensing agreements, which can and should be negotiated.

The unfortunate news is that there is still no standardization of formats either in the ebooks or the ereader platforms. She mentioned a few of the different approaches publishers are trying such as HarperCollins limiting books to 26 checkouts before requiring the purchase of a new copy.

Jodee mentioned Trisha Davis of the Ohio State University Libraries as a resource on licensing information as well as a post by Rick Anderson on what he calls the “Seven License Terms of Death.” His advise, while a little old (2006) still seems sound to me and might be well worth looking into. Jodee mentioned that among other things he recommends changing the jurisdiction of the license to be according to the rules of your own state and no others.

With the current continual upheaval in the ebook world I foresee the need for sessions similar to this at each and every conference to some time to come.

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