I recently returned from the Executive Board Meeting, where I had the opportunity for informal discussion about the development of a vendor relations policy. Here are some preliminary ideas regarding the framework for such a policy.
Issues Supported by the Government Relations Policy
AALL’s Government Relations Policy supports our advocacy at the federal and state levels in several areas related to vendor relations, including:
- No public or private entity should enjoy a publishing monopoly over any body or type of government information (section II.A).
- AALL supports a legal and regulatory environment that fosters an efficient and economical flow of electronic information . . . a system of affordable telecommunications rates . . . net neutrality (section VII).
- We support the design and use of coherent strategies for archiving digital information and adapting preservation to new technologies (section VI).
- In the past, AALL has fought against database protection legislation and for universal citation, which are issues affecting legal information vendors; we have argued against setting access or copyright restrictions based on format so that digital content is treated the same as traditional print; and we have supported the expansion of the prenotification negative option rule to include protection for institutional customers.
Other Issues for Direct Advocacy with Legal Information Vendors
Many of the publishing and customer services issues that are discussed on various lists and blogs are covered by the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers and Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources. Both of these guides are currently being updated by AALL task forces with opportunities for member input, so the intent is not to reproduce all those issues in a vendor relations policy but rather to cite these resources that are already policy by virtue of their publication and adoption by the Executive Board.
Members are encouraged to contact me at any time with additional ideas for the vendor relations policy. The development is a work in progress.