Vendor Liaison Update - October 2012

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AALL entities have been busy on a variety of vendor relations tasks. Following is a summary of our activities.

Fair Business Practices Task Force

The Revisions Task Force on the AALL Guide to Fair Business Practices for Legal Publishers has been working for the past year to update and revise the guide to ensure that it remains relevant for print and electronic resources. Earlier this year, the task force solicited member feedback on a first draft of the next edition of the guide (see my June Vendor Liaison Update). Since the Annual Meeting in Boston, the task force has been reviewing and incorporating comments, adding new text, and refining language. The task force will submit its final report and recommendations to the Executive Board in November.

Procurement Task Force

The Library Procurement Process Improvements Task Force initially solicited general comments and concerns on licensing principles last fall. Since that time, the task force has been working on revising the 2004 Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources and developing other tools to assist law librarians. The task force hosted a coffee talk in Boston, “Licensing Electronic Content: From Fair Use to Escape Clauses, and Everything in Between,” to gather additional feedback and questions.

One issue that has become abundantly clear to the members of the task force is the need to market the work product of the Association to AALL members. The task force was surprised at the lack of awareness of the principles and of licensing practices in general, even among those librarians who are involved in negotiating licensing terms. The work of the Association in this area is a valuable benefit of membership, and it needs to be made more visible and accessible.

One part of the work product the task force expects to produce by the spring 2013 Executive Board meeting is a procurement toolkit that will include:

  • A revised version of the Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources using a new format that includes the principle text followed by an “interpretation” or examples (similar to the ABA rules model) followed by sample licensing language
  • A new licensing “checklist” as a procurement process improvement tool
  • A flow chart to help guide users visually through the licensing process

The task force will continue to keep AALL membership informed of its progress as it develops these tools.

Prenotification Negative Option Plans

The Government Relations Office, working with the Consumer Advocacy Caucus under the direction of the AALL Executive Board, has issued a new Action Alert asking you to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if your law library receives unwanted and unordered merchandise from a legal materials vendor. In my May Vendor Liaison Update, I urged members to submit complaints to the FTC because a rise in complaints may spur the FTC to revise a rule concerning the use of prenotification negative option plans. In 2009, AALL submitted comments to the FTC urging the agency to expand the rule to cover institutional consumers, such as law libraries. Please follow the instructions in our new alert to submit complaints to the FTC through its online complaint assistant. Thanks to the Consumer Advocacy Caucus and the Government Relations Office for creating this opportunity for consumer advocacy.