January 16, 2003
The AALL Executive Board approved the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers in November 2002, providing a blueprint for the business interactions unique to law librarians and publishers.
The guide describes standards for the business practices of publishers that most directly affect law librarians. It covers the full range of their interactions, from advertising and solicitation to purchases and customer support. The guide is based on five principles:
- Publishers should engage in truthful and accurate communication with their customers or potential customers.
- Publishers should provide full disclosure about their products, services, prices and transactions insofar as allowed without violating contractual agreements or revealing proprietary information.
- Publishers should engage in fair dealings with their customers.
- Publishers should seek to ensure customer satisfaction by honoring representations, answering questions, and resolving complaints and disputes in a timely and responsive manner.
- Publishers should create products that are capable of withstanding reasonable use by customers.
While the AALL guide is not necessarily intended to replace the Federal Trade Commission's Guides for the Law Book Industry, the AALL guide plays a similar role in promoting fair practices. For the first time since the FTC rescinded its guides in 2000, law librarians and publishers now have a resource that addresses many of the key issues that mark their relationship.
For more information about the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers, please go to the AALL Web site, AALLNET, at http://aallnet.org/about/fair_practice_guide.asp.