Weird license for standards

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  • I just got off the phone with a librarian who wants to access ASTM International standards.  The license allows for so many uses and then the option to re-buy.  There can be only one contact person for the database.  That person cannot reproduce the standards requested in any format.


    How do people use such a license? Of course, it is wildly expensive AND the standards association is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.


  • Unfortunately I'm not suprised to see a license this restrictive on a resource like this, and really all that can be done one a license is signed is to use the resource in the manner outlined in it.

    The options I see available to the librarian include:

    • Continue to purchase the product under these terms, which is frustrating but sometimes required if users need access to this resource for their studies and/or to do their job.
    • Stop purchasing the publication, and let the vendor know that it's due to the cost and the unreasonable license terms. He or she will have to be prepared to explain this decision to their users, though many are understanding when they find out exactly how expensive these resources are for such limited access.
    • Check to see if print versions of the standards are available for purchase without such a restrictive license attached. The librarian could then look into options for making reproductions of various standards available to his or her users under fair use or one of the other exceptions found in US copyright law.
  • Under the CONTU guidellines, as I understand them, you could request a scan of a specific ASTM standard via ILL from a library that holds the print version, but you would be limited to 5 scans in 5 years.

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