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The Market

De-Mystifying the Licensing of Electronic Resources: A Glossary of License Terms

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Developed by Trisha L. Davis, Head, Serials & Electronic Resources Department

Acceptance - The formal act or process of agreeing to the terms of a contract.

Access - The capability or right to connect to and use an electronic product or service.

Agreement - A contract or other written document that two parties sign as a binding obligation; a license agreement for electronic products may includes a base document and several appendices.

Amendment - Any modification, revision, or addition to a contract or license agreement.

Archive copy - A copy of a work, in printed or digital format, preserved for future use.

Assignment - The transfer of some or all rights and obligations by one party of a contract to a third party.

Authentication - A process by which a computer system verifies the identity of a user accessing the system or source of communication.

Authorized signature - A signature used to authenticate a contract, made with actual, implied, or apparent authority and effective legal power to represent a party to the contract.

Authorized use - The specific product use rights and capabilities authorized under the terms of the license agreement.

Authorized user - Any person who is authorized by the licensor to access and use an electronic product or service under the terms of the license agreement.

Backup copy - A copy of an electronic product saved for recovery purposes.

Breach - A breaking of the commitments, or failure to adhere to the obligations of a contract.

Click-on license - A type of license agreement that appears only online when the product is initially installed or accessed; the license terms are considered to be accepted when the end-user "clicks-on" a specified keyboard button to install or display the product.

Concurrent use - The limit of access to or use of an electronic product based on the number of simultaneous users.

Confidentiality - The ability to keep data in confidence, treated as private, and not for distribution to the general public.

Contract - A formal, usually legally binding agreement between two parties.

Contract of adhesion - A standardized contract offered by the seller or licensor on a "take-it or leave-it" basis without allowing the buyer or licensee the option to negotiate contractual terms.

Copies - Reproductions or duplications of an electronic product, regardless of media; a copy may be in print or electronic format.

Copyright - The exclusive ownership of and right to make use of a literary, musical, or artistic work; protection given under law to the expression of an idea.

Coursepack - Copies of educational material, in paper, non-print, or electronic format, collected by an instructor for use by students in a specified course.

Dial access - A method of remote access that uses a modem to transfer data via telephone lines.

Disclaimer - A statement denying knowledge of, connection with, or responsibility for a particular action, an association with a specific person or entity, or a claim to something of value.

Display - The act of retrieving electronic information for the purpose of viewing on a computer terminal screen or monitor.

Distributor - The agent or company that re-sells, sublicenses, or otherwise makes an electronic product available from the owner to end-users.

Documentation - Any materials provided with access to or use of an electronic product; documentation may include installation and user manuals, tutorials, reference guides, etc.

Domain - On the Internet, a group of computers whose host names share a common suffix, the domain name. Some important domains are: .com (commercial), .edu (educational), .net (network operations), and .gov (US government)

Downloading - The copy or transfer of data from an electronic product or service to another electronic storage device or media, such as diskette or computer hard-drive.

Electronic product - A digital or online product or service offered for sale or lease; often includes software, data, and accompanying materials.

End-user - The person or institution that accesses an electronic product for their own use.

Fair Use - A legal doctrine that states that persons other than the owner of a copyright have the right to use the copyrighted materials in a reasonable manner without the owner's consent. The Copyright Act explicitly identifies four interests that may override the rights of the creator or copyright holder: 1) the purpose and character of the use; including its commercial nature; 2) the nature of the copyrighted work; 3) the proportion that was "taken"; and 4) the economic impact of the "taking".

Force majeure - An event or effect that may be considered impossible to control or anticipate, such as a war, strike, or Act of God such as an earthquake, flood, or hurricane.

Governing law - The specified jurisdictional law that governs the terms of the contract or license should a dispute arise.

Host name - The unique name by which a computer is identified to a network, used most frequently to send electronic mail or access a world wide web site.

Indemnity - A legal exception against liability or penalties for damage or loss; in license agreements, each party may indemnify the other from claims made by a third party based on use of the product.

Infringement - An unauthorized use of a right protected by copyright, patent, or trademark law; a violation of a contractual right.

Intellectual property - Ideas, processes, or works of authorship which are protected by law such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, and/or trade secrets.

Intellectual property rights - The ownership of intellectual property, or the right to use another's intellectual property as defined in a license granting such rights.

Inter-library loan (ILL) - The practice of lending library materials owned by a library to users registered at another library.

The Internet - The largest set of interconnected networks in the world; the Internet links defense-research centers in the U.S. and Europe; it uses backbone networks (e.g. ARPAnet, NSFNet, MILNET) to connect many mid-level and local area networks around the world.

IP or Internet Protocol - A uniform address standard used by the Internet to link networks.

IP address - An address consisting of one, two, or three octets of network numbers that uniquely identifies a node on the Internet.

Lease - A contract conveying temporary use rights for a specified period in exchange for rent or other compensation.

Liability - Legal obligations or responsibilities.

License - The portion of a contract or agreement that defines explicitly the rights of the licensee to use the product or service provided.

License agreement - A written document, normally in contract form, that defines explicitly the rights that the licensor is granting to the licensee, subject to certain conditions and obligations.

Licensee - The party to the agreement to whom access and use rights are assigned, normally the subscriber; usually a library or an institution.

Licensor - The party to the agreement that grants the licensed access and use rights.

Local area network (LAN) - A communication network that links terminals, microcomputers, and workstations within a specifically defined, geographically limited area, such as a group of offices or adjacent buildings.

Modify - To make changes, as to the text or terms of a license agreement.

Negotiation - The mutual discussion and arrangement to the terms of a license agreement; negotiation may result in modification, deletion, or addition to the contract language.

Network - A hardware and software based data communication system that consists of interconnected computers, terminals, workstations and other electronic resources used to support communication between each element.

Node - A point in a computer network where communication lines are connected via a computer or an addressable device attached to a computer network.

Nondisclosure - An agreement between parties to protect the confidentiality and limit the use of information exchanged.

Non-exclusive rights - Rights that are granted by the licensor to multiple licensees.

Owner - The party that legally has or possesses something, such as a copy of the database or the intellectual property rights.

Penalty - Additional costs assessed due to failure to meet the terms of the license agreement.

Perpetual access - Contractual rights granted to the buyer or licensee that allows access to the electronic product continuing forever, of unlimited duration, never ceasing.

Premises - The buildings and grounds on which an institution is situated.

Print - The transfer of data from an electronic product or service to paper via the print process; normally executed by a "print" command from the display screen of a computer terminal via an electronic printing device.

Privacy, Right of - A generic legal term that covers a variety of personal rights, including the right to be left alone, the right to restrict access to personal information, the right to control the transfer or distribution of personal information.

Profile - A set of criteria established for an individual user or user group that define the parameters of a search; profile elements may include: terms or phrases, publication dates, specific databases, boolean indicators.

Public access terminal - A library workstation located in a public area for which there is no restriction on access by type of user.

Reciprocal rights - Rights that are granted mutually between two parties.

Record - a unit of bibliographic data that represents a single item, e.g. an article, a journal issue, a document or a monograph.

Remedies - the means by which the licensor may enforce the rights assigned to the licensee.

Remote access - The access and use of an electronic product from an off-site location.

Rights - The powers or privileges granted by law or contract.

Sale - The transfer of goods or property in exchange for a specified price or compensation.

Search - A structured request to a computer system specifying that certain elements be searched within the database and the results of the search retrieved for the user.

Section - A distinct subdivision within the terms of a license agreement.

Security - The procedures in place to prevent unauthorized access to a computer or network server. Security measures such as passwords for access verification guard against both unintentional as well as deliberate attempts to access information on the computer or system.

Server - A computer that provides services for other terminals and workstations connected to it via a network. A file server provides storage and retrieval capabilities; a printer server provides printing services via a remote printer; a communications server provides access to remote networks and databases.

Service - The supplying of software and data which a licensor is offering for sale or lease.

Severability - A contractual clause that defines the circumstances under which portions of the agreement or contract may be terminated.

Shrink-wrap license - A type of license agreement whose terms are considered to be accepted when the end-user breaks a shrink-wrap seal or opens a sealed envelope containing an electronic product and license.

Site - the physical location within which an electronic product may be accessed and used; normally defined by buildings, offices, campuses, or defined geographical boundaries.

Site license - A type of license agreement that grants access and use rights for an electronic product at a specified site.

Subscriber - the party to the agreement that is purchasing, leasing, or licensing a product or service; used in the context of an agreement, the subscriber may include all authorized users.

Subscription - the right to receive a product or service for payment by purchase or lease.

Term - The agreed upon period of time in which a license agreement or contract is in effect.

Terminal - A computing device that allows a user to communicate with a computer system; typically a microcomputer with attached keyboard, and monitor.

Terms - The individual clauses or sections of a contract.

Termination - The ending, cancellation, or discontinuance of a license agreement or contract.

Third party - Anyone other than the licensor or the licensee, who is party to the agreement and may have rights therein.

Vendor - A supplier or provider of goods and services.

Venue - The particular district in which a court with jurisdiction may hear a case; it relates only to the place where either party may require a case to be tried.

Waiver - The voluntary and deliberate relinquishment of rights or claims granted by a license agreement or contract.

Warranty - An enforceable promise or legally binding written guarantee; typical warranties include quality, performance, or suitability for a specified purpose.

Workstation - A desk or work area equipped with a combination of microcomputer equipment designed to allow the user to perform specific tasks, such a searching databases. Workstations normally include powerful microcomputers that are connected to local networks and the Internet; they may also include printers, scanners, and other related electronic equipment.