Interpreting and Negotiating Licensing Agreements

Ros Doig (Serials and Inter‐lending Librarian, University of Derby)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




Doig, R. (2000), "Interpreting and Negotiating Licensing Agreements", Library Management, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 109-115.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Both authors are well qualified to write on this tricky subject. Arlene Bielefield has studied law as well as library science and Lawrence Cheeseman is a law librarian. And they do it with clarity and readability. Readers may be familiar with their previous publication Technology and Copyright Law, which was listed in Library Journal’s First Annual List of Best Professional Reading in 1998.

This book deals with licensing in great detail starting with “What is a licensing agreement” and progresses through types of licence (e.g. shrink wrap), what they really mean – something which is really beginning to engage my attention these days, and actually negotiating the licence. Aspects of the book I particularly liked are the clause by clause explanations and cautions, the checklist for evaluating licences and the glossary of terms used in licenses.

I would heartily recommend this book to my US colleagues but feel it has its drawbacks for other countries as it concentrates on the subject according to US law. However, it does contain much useful general consideration of licence agreements and how to interpret them so that it could make a useful addition to a professional collection. It does include an appendix on the International Coalition of Library Consortia’s “Statement of current perspective and preferred practices for the selection and purchase of electronic information” along with a list of the signees and the names and addresses of contacts in the UK and Europe.

Perhaps my advice outside of the USA would be to try and look at a copy before purchasing!

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