May 25, 2010
Kicking Up WestlawNext Deployment to "11:" Can't Sell It by Way of Licensing, Then Just Push the Damn Thing to Westlaw Account Holders
Guess what, apparently you don't need a WestlawNext license for your users to rack up WLN charges. That's the word. according to Tamara Avevedo's law-lib listserv post yesterday. She spoke with a Company rep who informed her that everyone with classic Westlaw access would also have access to WestlawNext with their One Pass ID starting on June 1st.
Apparently something like this "gem" of a message will appear:
"Search WestlawNext Now: Improve your research efficiency by 64% with WestlawNext. Your organization has access to the advanced search engine and improved design of Westlaw Next. Go there now and begin increasing your productivity!".
64%, Really? Click on the "Search WestlawNext Now" link, which I have intentionally omitted, and a researcher will be warned that he or she is about to rack up extra charges if continuing but how can one resist the urge to improve "research efficiency by 64%." The researcher's own search intelligence apparently no longer matters. WLN's cross-database SE will spit out everything you will need; you will be smarter than you ever hoped to be. Classic Westlaw is bad, really bad, so click now.
By the way TR Legal, 64 percent, really? Not 60% or 65%, 64%! I guess now we know why the "immodest premuim" offered to Lisa Solomon for using WLN's search algorithm was 68%. Perhaps AALL should spend some ad revenue dollars to commission a completely as in utterly untainted study by independent information scientists to reality check this advertising claim. By completely independent, I do not mean a team of, oh I don't know, Bob Berring's law students, or anyone else in any way associated with either AALL or TR Legal. We'll probably have to contract out the study to India (as long as it isn't a firm in Mumbai). But I digress ... .
Shiny New SE Use Just "Auxiliary" Now. Acevedo writes that her rep informed her that TR Legal is treating "WestlawNext usage as "auxiliary" and [will] charge as such." Ah, no WestlawNext upgrade agreements ... having a tough time selling WLN?
I was also told that subscribing to WestlawNext would be no different than adding a database and would be done with an LOU [Letter of Understanding]. That's weird because at every other turn, I had been told it is a seperate contract.
Moreover, she was told "there is no way that [blocking WestlawNext] can be done because the two products [classic Westlaw and WLN] link in together." Even someone like myself who hasn't written code in 30 years knows that's utter bull without divine intervention. Did the hand of god write this script? Perhaps the rep meant linked together for billing. Well, we know who wrote that script.
TR Legal has moved from unsolicited shipments of print materials to unsolicited delivery of WLN. I must have missed the postcard. Don't you like being "told" in the one-way street that is TR Legal's "partnership" with the law library community? "Your organization has access" to WLN whether you want it or not unless you take action to stop it.
Wake Up AALL. If all, some, even one iota of this is accurate, this is utterly unacceptable. Remember this information was supplied by a rep. All things considered, one is inclined to think TR Legal might kick up WLN deployment to 11, meaning Acevedo's rep is most likely dead on about TR Legal's new private sector tactics. There's no opportunity to wait and compare WLN with "New Lexis" under this deployment scheme.
If AALL doesn't make an immediate and very public response to the Company's shiny new "auxiliary" ploy for grabbing unlicensed WLN usage charges, then we know who our association is sleeping with for the sake of ad dollars. Don't expect anything from CRIV; the Committee's well-meaning members' collective hands have been tied behind their backs by the Association (more about that later).
Meanwhile we can wait to see how TR Legal's Senior Director of Librarian (Marketing) Relations spins this boner with one of the Company's marketing-approved patented "Dear Colleague" messages. It might start with "I' would like to address some misunderstanding about WestlawNext... ." It might end with "the rep who spoke to Tamara Avevedo is now working in the shipping department to ensure that empty boxes aren't being mailed to our customers."
Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another. Is it time to boycott TR Legal by stop paying Westlaw monthly invoices if WLN charges appear on them without a "letter of understanding" or that whatchamacallit thing, a license? Clicking after a warning just doesn't cut it. Acevedo demanded that "gem" of a message be removed and it was. Sounds to me like it was a wise move that others should take.
Frankly, I thought that after 30 years I had seen everything. Apparently not. "Thank you, sir, may I have another" has now gone too far. I imagine the Buckeyes in Dayton are besides themselves with glee over this. And rightly so. Just about every move TR Legal makes is an example of what not to do when migrating a very expensive online legal search service to a new platform.
Just in case Acevedo's law-lib listserv message "disappears" from AALL's law-lib archive, here is the complete text. DOJ and state AGs might want to take notice. Thanks for the heads up, Tamara. [JH]
I am writing this message to give a heads up for those who may not be aware of what Thomson Reuters is now doing with WestlawNext. I attended a First Look session in Eagan this past March and was told there that our attorneys would not have access unless we agreed to let them have access. On Friday I spoke with a representative and was informed that everyone with Westlaw.com access would also have access to WestlawNext with their One Pass ID starting on June 1st.
Last week our users logged on and saw this "gem":
"Search WestlawNext Now: Improve your research efficiency by 64% with WestlawNext. Your organization has access to the advanced search engine and improved design of Westlaw Next. Go there now and begin increasing your productivity!". (emphases added)
At my request, they have removed the "gem".
Clicking on that link took the user seamlessly into WestlawNext. Great huh? I guess it is if you do not mind your attorneys knocking around in WestlawNext without a contract. Once I attempted to run a search, I did receive a message that WestlawNext was not included in our Westlaw.com subscription and there would be extra charges if I choose to continue, etc. It is great that they have warnings, but I believe this is different than going outside of our contract from within Westlaw.com. After speaking to my local rep, I was informed that my thinking was not correct. They will treat WestlawNext usage as "auxiliary" and charge as such. I was also told that subscribing to WestlawNext would be no different than adding a database and would be done with an LOU [Letter of Understanding]. That's weird because at every other turn, I had been told it is a seperate contract.
After expressing that I would like all access to WestlawNext blocked, I was told there is no way that it can be done because the two products link in together.
Now that the "gem" is gone, I realize it is unlikely that any of my attorneys will stumble upon the fact that they have access but, at this point, it's really more about the principle. I really wish they would pick a story and stick to it.
Anybody wonder if this was the idea behind the new OnePassIDs in the first place? Because I haven't found it to be simpler or more secure for any of my user.
Posted by: Jennifer Frazier | May 25, 2010 6:31:32 AM