ARCHIVED: Roger H. Parent's Informal Notes - 11/1/2000

PrintEmail

November 1, 2000


AALL Membership

In my separate report on membership through August 31st, (Executive Board November Meeting Tab 14), I reported on the several steps that staff took between March 2000 and September 2000 to encourage members to renew. As of September 30th 636 members - 53 of these are students - had not renewed; this represents 14% of those 4713 members who were invoiced for their 2000 - 2001 dues. This percentage is comparable to prior years.

As of October 31st, 164 new members have joined as a result of AALL's first year free offer to library directors, and 32 members were reinstated. AALL memberships totaled 4812, and of these 86% were paid by institutions.

Since September, staff and Marketing Consultant Mary McNulty have prepared a plan that involves the new Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee in a telephone survey of 90 of the members who did not renew. This telephone survey will be conducted in November. In addition to showing a high level of interest in retaining members, the Committee will also seek to learn more about the reasons members, especially those who were members for several years, chose to let their memberships in AALL lapse in 2000.

American Bar Association / Copyright Clearance Center

In July President Robert Oakley received a letter, from John L. Bonee III dated July 13, 2000, informing him that the American Bar Association was asked to seek and negotiate copyright licensing protection and a discounted rate structure with the Copyright Clearance Center for ABA members. The AALL Executive Board asked President Oakley and me to discuss this resolution with the ABA and to express our eagerness to work with them on this matter. On August 4th Bob and I prepared and sent a letter to Robert Stein, Executive Director, ABA seeking our involvement and representation in their meetings with the CCC.

In our letter we expressed the concern shared by AALL members about the role and the practices of the Copyright Clearance Center and about issues related to copyright licensing. We noted that our members have a keen interest in developing a fair system of royalties that clearly allows for such copying as is permitted under applicable provisions of the law, like fair use. Our members are understandably concerned that the negotiations between the ABA and the CCC might affect their institutions in significant ways, since library copying is very much a part of the copying done by law firms, corporate legal departments, and courts. We believe that the participation in negotiations of one of our members, expert in this area, would benefit both ABA and AALL members.

In October, once the ABA invited AALL to participate in negotiations, President Oakley appointed Lolly Gasaway as AALL's representative to the ABA in upcoming negotiations between the American Bar Association and the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC). Daryl DePriest, ABA General Counsel, serves as the ABA contact.

These negotiations are expected to explore the possibility of obtaining institutional discounts on behalf of ABA and AALL members while working to ensure a clear and explicit understanding that whatever rates are negotiated are applicable only for copying in excess of that which is permitted under the law. Furthermore, to make sure that the negotiators are mindful of both general copyright issues as well as copyright issues as they might affect libraries.

As our representative, Lolly will report to the AALL President and she has been asked to prepare a brief status report triennially for the AALL Executive Board. She will also keep our Copyright Committee informed of any developments and consult with them as needed. Should she wish to bring a recommendation to the Executive Board (e.g., for endorsement of the outcome of the negotiations), she should discuss the matter in advance with the Copyright Committee so that the Executive Board can benefit from their thoughts on her recommendation at the same time.

We are very pleased that the ABA has invited AALL to join them in these negotiations with the CCC and we look forward to a positive outcome on behalf of our members, in particular those employed by the almost 2000 law firms and corporate libraries represented in our AALL membership.

Law.com will post LLJ and AALL Spectrum articles on their website

In June 2000 AALL received a request from Law.com to make articles that are published in LLJ and AALL Spectrum available on their website - on a non-exclusive basis - and also to jointly commission new articles. Law.com would pay AALL authors of commissioned articles an honorarium. In both instances the rights of AALL's authors to their work would be protected; authors would retain copyright as they do now.

This represents a new opportunity for a joint effort between AALL and Law.com. The details of the Law.com proposal were discussed with them at the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, and subsequently Law.com submitted a draft letter of agreement dated September 20, 2000. Peter Beck, Editor, AALL Spectrum and I reviewed this letter and we forwarded it to the LLJ AALL Spectrum Editorial Board and Advisory Committee for review at their September meeting in Chicago. Both Peter Beck and Frank Houdek, Editor LLJ, serve ex officio on the Advisory Committee.

On Friday, October 6th, after their annual meeting in Chicago, Rosalie Sanderson, Chair of the Advisory Committee, informed me that the Committee endorsed the idea of making articles that have appeared in LLJ and AALL Spectrum available on Law.com with the proviso that the rights of authors be protected, and that such articles appear first in AALL's two publications.

The Advisory Committee does not recommend the payment of honoraria to AALL members for articles jointly commissioned by AALL and Law.com. The Committee believes that this practice would create a two-tiered system of AALL authors for AALL's two publications, those who are paid an honorarium and those who are not paid.

Thus, I will pursue a letter of agreement with Law.com that makes it possible for Law.com to seek the authors permission to post previously published AALL articles on their website.

This opportunity has some interest to AALL for two reasons. First, it is consistent with the Association's objective of increasing the visibility of law librarians and the Association to a wider audience in the legal community. This is an audience that is reached by Law.com. Second, it provides a chance for AALL to build a productive relationship with Law.com that might lead to other joint efforts in the future that would benefit the AALL membership.

  • Law.com is also interested in partnering with AALL on electronic-based professional development programs. This idea is under review by the Professional Development Committee.
  • In Philadelphia in July 2000 Law.com managed the AALL Store. Although the Store has not been a significant source of net revenue for the Association, it is an added benefit to members who want to purchase AALL and other publications during the Annual Meeting.
  • For the first time in Philadelphia, Law.com sent a "reporter" to cover programs and events at the Annual Meeting. These reports were added daily to their website and thus substantially increased visibility about the Annual Meeting to an audience that is not customarily reached by AALL.