Re: Institutional versus personal subscriptions Belvadi, Melissa 01 Jun 2006 21:46 UTC
There seems to be a great deal of confusion out there are about the concepts of legality, ethics, and contractual obligations. A subscription to a periodical is a contract between buyer and seller. All of these questions raised on this thread recently should come down to: what are the terms of the contract between the buyer (subscriber) and seller (publisher)? If the contract explicitly forbids the buyer to donate the periodical issues to an institution, then the buyer would be in violation of the contract if they did so and subject to lawsuit or whatever other remedies might be included in the contract. Since the library is not a party to the contract, the library has no legal issues at all, and I would argue, no ethical ones either. Some journals have such terms. Those who do not are then subject to the first sale doctrine, which most certainly DOES apply to periodicals every bit as much as books. The first sale doctrine (which is explicitly codified in US law, not just a vague principle) says that once you buy a copy of a copyrighted work, you can do whatever you want with your physical copy, except make copies (and related derivations). So you can give it to a library. Contracts supersede legal rights - a professor can sign away his/her first sale doctrine rights in order to obtain a subscription. But if the contract is silent on the issue, the statutory law is in force. Copyright law is about making new copies of a protected work, not about the disposition of legally created copies and has absolutely nothing to do with the issue being discussed in this thread. The only ethical issue I see is for a library who tried to pressure a member of their community into violating a subscription contract. Periodical sales are a business, and a very large and profitable one for some companies at that. You can be sure that Taylor&Francis, Elsevier, etc. have plenty of lawyers looking out for their interests and their interests are also protected by the massive monopoly power granted under national and international copyright law. There's no need for librarians to gift them with any more rights than they are already entitled to out of a misplaced sense of "fairness". In the specific example of the gyn group below, one has to look at the terms of the membership/subscription contract signed/agreed to by the doctors. But it's important to understand that if the doctors violate the contract, that's not a violation by the library because the library isn't a party to the contract. That's a really important point that can't be emphasized enough. Other respondents on this thread have itemized excellently the practical concerns for libraries in dealing with donated serials so I won't repeat those points. Melissa Belvadi Systems and Services Librarian Maryville University Library 13550 Conway Rd., St. Louis, MO 63141 email@example.com 314-529-9531 Fax: 314-529-9941 -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Devereaux, MaryJo Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2006 6:49 AM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: [SERIALST] PlainZix RE: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptio ns What about when all physicians in the group obtain a copy of the same journal because they are members of an organization and have one of those membership journals sent directly to the library instead of the office. For example, members of a GYN group who each get Am j of obstet gynec and have that sent to us. [Which has been proposed], is that an acceptable "donation" since the journal comes with membership?? MaryJo Devereaux, M.L.S. Community Medical Center Physician's Library 1800 Mulberry Street Scranton PA 18510 v. 570-969-8197 f. 570-969-8902 firstname.lastname@example.org -----Original Message----- From: Pennington, Buddy D. [mailto:penningtonb@UMKC.EDU] Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 3:11 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions I believe it is perfectly fine under the first sale doctrine. It would be like someone purchasing a book and then immediately donating that book to the library. Like Lee Ann, we also have some titles where faculty donate their issues to the library. And we also have problems such as getting the issues in a timely manner and not getting all the issues. Therefore, we have internally coded these titles as personal gift titles and we have a public note that indicates that since these are personally donated, we typically get them later than usual and that we often do not get all the issues for a particular volume. So, to make a long story short, the physicians are within their rights to donate these to your library and you can use them. However, there is usually a downgrade in the service you'll be providing your users (getting the issues later than subscribing libraries or not getting all the issues). Buddy Pennington Serial Acquisitions Librarian UMKC - University Libraries 800 E. 51st Street Kansas City, MO 64110 816-235-1548 816-333-5584 (fax) email@example.com UMKC University Libraries: Connecting Learners to the World of Knowledge www.umkc.edu/lib -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Howlett, Lee Ann Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 1:34 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions We've had various physicians do this for us over the years by subscribing and then immediately giving us the issue when it arrives. Unfortunately, it never seemed to work out. We never managed to obtain all of the issues for a volume from anyone. People mean well when they offer to do this but, in my experience, something always happens where they either forget to send an issue on or they wanted to keep just 'that one'. Sincerely, Lee Ann Howlett _________________________________ Lee Ann Howlett, MA Head, Serials, Dept. Shimberg Health Sciences Library University of South Florida 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 31 Tampa, FL 33612 (813) 974-9080 (813) 974-7032 (fax) Email: LHOWLETT@HEALTH.USF.EDU -----Original Message----- From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum [mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Bluhm-Stieber, Hella Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2006 12:27 PM To: SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: [SERIALST] Institutional versus personal subscriptions Hello all, We are facing severe budget cuts and need to cancel half of our journal subscriptions. The suggestion was made to ask for donations from physicians who subscribe to certain journals the library needs. We are concerned about the legal implications of this. We explained to our management that we think that this is against copyright law. One problem is that the doctors can pay for subscriptions through their educational fund, but cannot donate money from it. We think that the donors would have to pay for an institutional copy in order that we can use it in the library. I would be grateful for any suggestions or documentation why this is o.k. or not o.k. Thank you very much, Hella Bluhm-Stieber Hella Bluhm-Stieber, MLIS, AHIP Medical Librarian Milton J. Chatton Medical Library Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System 751 S. Bascom Ave. San Jose, CA 95128 (408) 885-5654 Fax (408) 885-5655 NOTICE: This email message and/or its attachments may contain information that is confidential or restricted. It is intended only for the individuals named as recipients in the message. 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