I contratti di licenza di uso dei periodici elettronici

Cassella, Maria
September 2008
Bollettino AIB;set2008, Vol. 48 Issue 2/3, p135
Academic Journal
This article analyzes contracts for licence to use electronic periodicals, a question that has as yet not been deeply investigated in the area of Italian professional literature, in which reflection on licences has often been ancillary to that on consortia and, more generally, to that on electronic resources and on scientific communication. An investigation of the system of licences reveals areas of light and shade. Ten years and more of negotiations have permitted the library world to solve in its favour some of the problems of licence contracts (for example, those regarding clauses on authorized users), while there are still some large areas unsolved regarding the service of electronic document delivery and on the subject of long term access. Among the other critical points of the contracts, that of the so-called confidentiality clause or non-disclosure clause was highlighted. It is in fact a clause that "forbids libraries to exchange with others information on the price, use and other important terms or conditions". For those who opt for the "paper+electronic" commercial model, there remains the problem of managing the maintenance of the paper subscriptions (non cancellation clause) with a minimum margin of rejections granted before a requirement that is much-felt by libraries and already pointed out many times, of transfer to electronic only. The e-only option by now foreseen for the vast majority of contracts does however continue to be an economically advantageous choice given the scanty discounts proposed by the editors for those who opt for this type of contract. Thanks to these new kinds of contracts that are increasingly more often adopted by consortia, not only in the United States, but also in Europe, the problem of the maintenance of the restricted subscriptions is becoming an obsolete theme and is leaving space for numerous other interrogatives: first among these, that of the conservation and preservation of digital information. In the complex world of digital, using the expertise of their legal offices, "daily contact" with remote users has taught libraries and consortia to deal in the most professional way possible with all the implications of a licence to use contract. In a not very distant future it will be possible for libraries to hope that «license terms will become so standard for various categories of content (such as e-journals) that we will not need them much at all; all that will be left will be a pricing agreement - for as we all know price continues to be the greatest area of dissent and disagreement between libraries and their suppliers».



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