February 26, 2013
IFLA's Principles for Library eLending
Earlier this month IFLA's Governing Board endorsed Principles for Library eLending as a complementary policy statement to IFLA's database-focused Licensing Principles (2001). "It is evident that the library distribution of downloadable trade eBooks differs fundamentally from the licensing of digital databases."
From the Background statement:
The differences for library acquisition of the two types of digital content include:
- The 2001 Principles assume “a willing information provider and a willing purchaser of information access” and advocate for standard license terms and conditions in a number of areas. As has been well documented, the large multi-national trade publishers take very different approaches to selling eBooks to libraries including withholding content and will not engage in collective discussions about terms and conditions due to concerns over anti-competition legislation.
- With eBooks a layer of complexity is added with interoperability restrictions for end users dictated by eReading device manufacturers/distributors (Amazon, Apple…) and interfaces and use restrictions dictated by content sellers/resellers (OverDrive, Amazon…). Imposed restrictions often do not integrate seamlessly with other library discovery services.
- While licenses for aggregated eBook collections are negotiated, when made available to libraries eBooks are often licensed on a title by title basis from publishers or through resellers and terms and conditions are non-negotiable.
- Publishers of trade eBooks most often have regional geographic rights which may constrain their ability to contractually agree to international interlibrary loan to regions where they do not hold rights.
- Consortia licensing of eBooks is actively discouraged by trade publishers and resellers.
From the Preamble:
The IFLA Principles for eLending is based on the assumption that it is necessary for libraries and publishers/authors to negotiate a range of reasonable terms and conditions for the licensing of eBooks to libraries which allows them to fulfil their mission of guaranteeing access to knowledge and information for their communities. Successful negotiations will require solutions which do not unduly jeopardize the publisher’s and author’s financial viability. It is not acceptable that a publisher or author can restrict a library's ability to purchase/license otherwise commercially available eBooks for the library collection. The implementation of a library's collection development policy has to be in the library's control, and not in the control of publishers and authors.
Whoa! I think that means a library's business plan trumps any vendor's business plan.
On Feb. 8, 2013, IFLA launched a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Recommended as a starting point for law libraries hell bent on not being a lap dog --- meaning by prioritizing their institution's business plan higher than our association's so-called vendor partners business plans.
End note. AALL has some sort of involvement with IFLA, right? Emphasis on "some sort." For example, see this 2011-12 Annual Report about AALL's participation in IFLA affairs authored by Sally Holterhoff, AALL Representative 2011-2014 ("Although the two main categories of IFLA membership are Associations and Institutions, AALL participates through appointment of an individual to serve as its representative to IFLA through a Personal Affiliate membership.") [JH]