February 22, 2010
Thomson Reuters = TEASER
Some of you might remember the announcement about a new American Law Reports series that was released a few weeks ago. I know it might have gone unnoticed with all the ridiculous cloak and dagger hype surrounding WestlawNext (honestly, have you ever seen a marketing campaign so ridiculous?), but trust me, ALR International (ALR-INT on Westlaw) was announced with the usual fanfare that seems to a hallmark of TR. The description reads:
This set provides comprehensive analysis of legal issues and case law from countries throughout the world. As the newest series in the ALR® family, it collects and analyzes relevant U.S. and foreign cases from English- and non-English-speaking countries on specific legal issues of international import that have been litigated in the U.S. and global courts.
This set would be quite helpful to a clinic at my institution and be a good source for foreign case law organized by topic. I quickly jumped on Westlaw to review the first volume. Indeed, it looked quite helpful as is the case with the entire ALR set. I quickly advertised the new resource to the clinical professors and international law professors who I thought would find this set useful. One project would benefit greatly from one of the entry on the Refugee Convention and I wanted to be sure these professors were aware of this publication.
Of course, last week, when one of our Librarian Professors logged on to ALR-INT, we learned - OOPS! Sorry, your academic subscrition does not include this resources. Or, more precisely: "Your request to access ALR-INT cannot be processed because use of this database is not authorized under your subscription agreement." Of course the material was part of my agreement the week before; however, this is the problem with unilateral agreements.
Just to be sure that there was not a problem with our account, we checked with our local Westlaw representative. No mistake. It was announced, they cluttered my inbox, they let me use it for a week, advertise it to my school, and then they pulled it without any notice. Behavior like this is nearly as obnoxious as the WestlawNext roll out.
This is not the first time TR and Westlaw have pulled a stunt like this. If you can recall similar incidents, leave a comment! It would be interesting to collect them for future reference. You know, for those times when they claim to be such good library partners. No one likes a teaser! (VS)
Actually Jerry, I am not objecting to a good business model. I believe that people or companies should make profits from their work. What I object to is the give and take without any notice. So in my example, West tells me about this great new product that is available to me and then, without warning, one week later, pull it out of my contract without so absolutely no warning. They did not tell me it was a trial. In Joe's case, they also changed the terms of the contract. In his case, the terms were in place much longer than one week. What he bought into was changed without so much as a blink. So, if you really believe in good business models, ask yourself what kind of business behaves in this smoke and mirrors environment. How would you like it if you went into a car store and bought a ferrari and when you showed up they gave you a buick (no offence against buicks).
Posted by: Vick Szymczak | Feb 24, 2010 5:56:31 AM
You say that "no one likes a "teaser." I suppose when you go to the movies you close your eyes during the movie previews. Or you deliberately avoid looking at the new car promotions on TV. Even Viagra is offered for a trial period. You end up paying for the product if, after you've tested it, you do like what it offers. Or, you do as Joe Hodnicki suggests and balance a new product and its costs with an older product and its costs. That what librarians have always done. Without the rant usually.
Posted by: Jerry E. Stephens | Feb 23, 2010 4:47:08 AM
And West is pulling Taxation out of AmJur and offering it as a separate subscription for $1,000/yr. That's list price. I have AmJur on my WestPack plan at the usual 50% discount but no such luck for AmJur-Taxation. So now, I'm paying for less AmJur until my Westlaw contract comes up for renewal. Just another attempt to squeeze a dry sponge for more $$ to get the same legal information.
Posted by: Joe Hodnicki | Feb 22, 2010 3:44:14 PM