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Associations and InstitutionsAnnual 

64th IFLA Conference Logo

   64th IFLA General Conference
   August 16 - August 21, 1998


Code Number: 159-90-E
Division Number: -
Professional Group: Guest Lecture I
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 90.
Simultaneous Interpretation:   Yes

Publisher/Library Relationship in the Digital Environment

Dietrich Götze
Chairman STM
On behalf of STM and IPA


Ms. President (Ms. Christine Dechamps),
Honoured Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank IFLA's Secretary General Mr. Leo Voogt for inviting me to present to you the position of publishers regarding electronic (network) publishing with respect to the special issues which are of interest to libraries.

I am speaking on behalf of the International Publishers Association (IPA) which is an association of 64 National Publisher Associations representing all kinds of publishing: scientific, professional, educational, literature, entertainment, children's and trade fiction and non-fiction publishing. IPA is for publishers what IFLA is for librarians.

But I am also speaking for the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) Publishers which is affiliated to the IPA, but is an independent association of about 250 individual publishers, publishing companies as well as learned societies from around the world. IPA and STM highly value this opportunity and appreciate it as a clear sign of the library community to intensify the discussion on issues of mutual interest in the newly evolving network/electronic world.


When I was working as a principal investigator supported by the National Cancer Institute, NCI, at the newly founded Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in the late seventies, I was sitting at my desk and looking out of my office window one day when I realised that something fascinating had happened.

The campus of the university had been redesigned. Old buildings had been renovated, new buildings had been erected. Everything was finally finished and people had moved into their laboratories and offices weeks before, but what had not been touched by renovation was the landscape: no gardening, no paving of walk ways - everything had been left as it was when the building construction people had left. Garbage and weeds all over.

However, this afternoon, I imagined the reason for this „laissez-faire." The residents of the buildings, faculty members and students, who had to go back and forth from their lab/seminar rooms to the coffee-shop, library, gym, lecture hall, administration, tramped across the campus ground in whatever way they felt was best to reach their destination. After a few months, trades were clearly visible. And then the gardeners came in, paved the tracks to become fixed walk ways with little railings. For the rest, after removal of the weeds, lawn was seeded, and flowering bushes were planted. After everything was finished, the campus landscape looked beautiful with no signs forbidding people to cross the lawn as no one needed to cross the lawn. And still today, 20 years later, the lawn has not been destroyed because of trespassing and the whole campus looks as if it had never been used by people although hundreds of people move around daily.

I call this partnership between users (faculty and students), campus administration (libraries), and landscape designers (publishers): Let the rules develop together and we shall avoid complaints unseemingly unfounded restriction, continuous destruction and repair, quarrels over liabilities, disputes about who has which rights.

Publisher - Library Partnership

The digital revolution in the form of electronic online publishing of learned information - STM, professional, and educational information - has a major impact on all parties involved in the information chain: authors, editors, publishers, agents, libraries, users. In that chain, the interface between publishers who organise the whole process of presenting the required information services to users and ensure that maximum added value is given to published information through new and sophisticated editorial techniques using digital technologies, and librarians, who manage the cost-effective use of published information to the benefit of their patrons, remains crucial to the effective use of research output.

Both serve the same scientific and professional communities, both have to invest in new infrastructures which have to be compatible, both have to reorganizse their work and services in order to stay accepted by their clientele. Together they can maximize the efficiency of either one to the benefit of their users. And we should remind ourselves that we, as publishers and libraries, have an important (social, educational and research-supporting) role and responsability.

I think it is a moral imperative that we work together to dissolve real or imagined problems. That was true in the past for traditional (printed) publishing but is even more mandatory in the digital environment. In the past, we were sitting in different boats on the same river, in the digital environment, we are sitting in the same boat; but sometimes it looks like as if we are rowing in different directions.

Both parties have to understand the conditions and requirements they have to work along in order to achieve mutually acceptable terms. Neither the publishers nor the libraries have any experience or know where future developments will carry the „issues" of electronic online publishing, worldwide networking etc. It will be - as is usual for new territories still to be discovered - a path determined by trial and error, and we should not cement the future without having had the chance to test as many as possible ways of achieving the optimal results, to be defined by both parties.

Digital is different

Because the digital revolution changes the nature of published information from printed materials to which there is only limited physical access, to digital formats which are readily available and accessible anywhere (desktop) at any time, and which can be easily reproduced, stored, re-utilized and disseminated from anywhere to anyone, i.e. globally by users/holders themselves without loss of originality and quality and, therefore, potentially substituting for purchase, requires new forms of managing the information flow in order to maintain that flow.

Information Flow

Unlimited „free of charge" usage of electronic research document (articles of journals or books) will either cause

The result is no information: Free of charge information will kill the free flow of information, and that is to the detriment of progress and efficiency of research, scientific applications and education.

If we build a house, collecting the stones will be the least difficult and expensive part - putting them together to create a three storey edifice with appropriate wiring, sanitary equipment, room design etc. requires skills and efforts for which we are willing to pay (because nobody would do it otherwise). To Add value to a collection of stones is: we use them to build a house!

Why do we seem to be so reluctant to accept this basic law? Issues relating to this basic law divide publishers and libraries/users:

It is our, the publisher's, urgent pledge: We must try together to find solutions to these new issues which respect the basic requirements of each party involved and iteratively testing possible ways in order to arrive at mutually agreeable terms. In an ideal world - maybe not so ideal but real as pointed out in my introduction - only then, having reached a consensus, should we ask our legislative bodies to put our consensus in a binding frame work (actually for the generation to come). Legislation is only good if it is a re-action.

Electronic Commerce

Electronic commerce holds a great deal of promise for many industries. Network operators, broadcasters, and service providers will be able to expand their reach and provide new capabilities through the use of technological innovation. Authors, editors, publishers, producers, and artists will be able to make their works accessible to a broad range of new services, goods and works, in new and potentially more useful forms and formats. These developments go hand in hand - technological innovation and the promotion of fair and reasonable access to intellectual property are not mutually exclusive. Some business models based on intellectual property protection have worked well over 200 years. If properly adapted to the electronic age, these models will continue to provide an ever-expanding choice to consumers, while also ensuring that those creating, producing, distributing and transmitting works are fairly compensated.

Users of that information stand to benefit enormously from the new digital formats. More than ever before, the interests of users and rights holders run parallel in changing the pattern of trade from local to global. The most important trend is a desire by users to have a continuing improvement of quality as well as an increase in the choice of goods and services. For this quality to be maintained in a content-driven environment, there is a great need to encourage and to continue the creation of original quality content without errors and redundancies and to ensure that revenue streams continue to reward creators and other rights holders with their publishers and information disseminators for their efforts and investment.

The copyright based industries are seeking strong protection in digital formats in order to make their works available. It is, therefore, clearly not their intention to impede the development of electronic commerce. Quite the contrary. Content-producing organisations which include learned societies as well as commercial publishers are among the pioneers of electronic commerce, investing in these new services before it is even clear what the profitablility of these services or products will be. But while electronic delivery represents a potential means to reach vast new audiences, it also poses a significant potential for enormous risks, infringements, illegal copying, frauds, etc. to the copyright community. Piracy of copyrighted works is already a serious problem today, and the transfer to digital formats makes piracy easier, faster and less controllable than ever before. Works in digital formats that may have taken years of much work and expense to create and publish can be quickly, cheaply and perfectly copied and retransmitted. Protection exerts a positive influence in the public interestof our societies. In the area of computer programs (software) it was recognized by all stakeholders that electronic/digital tools and information follow different rules than had been recognized over the years in defining traditional copyright regulations.

The result was the Computer Program Directive, approved in 1991, and the Database Directive, approved 1996 by the European Commission, Parliament and Member States.


Rights holders and users need legal protection, and the technological means of enforcing it, against abuse, piracy and misappropriation as rights holders and users would be those who suffer without protection!

The Computer Programs Directive was adopted at a time when approximately 78 % of the computer programs used in Europe were unauthorised copies. This Directive provided that the copyright holder alone could authorise copying, adaptation and distribution of a computer program, and provided very narrow exceptions for back-up copying, incidental copying pursuant to authorised use, study and testing, and decompilation. „Private" copying was ruled out as altogether too risky for this type of digital work.

Since the 1991 adoption of the Computer Programs Directive, the European piracy rate for packaged business software alone has dropped 35 percentage points, which translates into an additional ECU 2.1 billion annual sales in this market segment, plus a dramatically growing market for all other types of software (an overall market now totalling 31 billion ECU), and thousands of new jobs in this and related upstream and downstream industries. Under the Computer Programs Directive, small, medium-sized, and large software companies alike have the needed incentives, rewards, and legal tools to develop and market this type of work - which is of vital importance to the Information Society. But also users do benefit from these regulations: There is now a broader assortment, and that at competitive prices.

The 1996 Database Directive established similarly strong rules for databases, again precluding „private" copying for databases in electronic form. This Directive was explicit in its objective of protecting investment. Even where a database producer's work is not creative enough to be considered copyrightable, this Directive protects unauthorised extractions and reutilisation from the database where there has been „substantial investment" in its collection, arrangement, or presentation. With these regulations which protect investments in databases the production of databases will increase - to the benefit of users who will find what they need with higher probability and at less costs.

Copyright does not operate in isolation: competition law, consumer protection law and contract law each play a role in balancing the interests of all parties in electronic commerce networks. Adequate copyright protection will help to develop the full potential of electronic commerce.

Exemptions of copyright, analogues to copyright of printed works, make electronic information prohibitively expensive or non-existent. Exemptless copyright protection renders electronic information affordable and available anywhere. There is a change in commercial paradigm: In the past, „document delivery" (information on demand) was an add-on income for publishers and authors, in the future „document delivery" will become a major revenue stream: the cost-covering revenues will be widely distributed, every user paying a little / every usage paid for by a very small fee.

[Draft Directive of Copyright in the Digital Environment, proposed in 1997]
[The US House of Representatives/Congress passed the WIPO international copyright treaties on August 4, 1998]

So what are the proposed recommendations for exploring the new territories?

They are licence agreements and experimental test side agreements.


Publishers - in collaboration with libraries and more prominantly with all kinds of library authorities - are developing new forms of licensing of the uses made and the re-utilisation permitted of works published in digital form. Whereas for printed works it has been adequate to put a work on the market subject only to the general copyright laws (with relatively simple licensing systems introduced recently to control the recent ability to make additional copies by photocopying), the vast range of uses which can be made of digital works requires a more complex licensing system (comparable to those operating for software), setting out what purchasers and lawful third party users can do with a work in return for the consideration paid for it.

Such licences are now becoming commonplace and acceptable to the library community. For your information, the Sterling Library at Yale University now maintains a database of examples of licences which enables it to monitor the process of licensing and provide a research resource for libraries and publishers needing guidance on appropriate systems.

Publisher Issues

Publishers have a number of important objectives, and for the purpose of this presentation I would like to mention six points: the first two are publisher's issues, the remaining four are an invitation to libraries (IFLA) to find a consensus with publishers!


Ladies and gentlemen, I am now at the end of my presentation, and in conclusion I would like to come back to my introductory remarks when I told you my little anecdote about the redesigned university campus that was created in partnership.

Today, at the beginning of your 64th General Conference, I want to congratulate you on the well chosen theme: on Crossroads of Information and Culture. At this moment indeed we are standing at crossroads as the paradigm changes in the publishing/library and information technology environment. The extent of cooperation and partnership between publishers and libraries in choosing the direction how we can make best available the information and digital content to the general public and individual end user will make or brake our future. We publishers depend on you librarians as you depend on us. Therefore, we have to reach out to each other and to continue and revitalise our dialogue. I trust that there will be ample opportunity starting this week to talk to each other and discuss the many issues and matters of mutual concern that bind us.

This dialogue, however, should not be left to such an accidental encounter in the halls of this congress but should be decisively sought: IFLA's Publishers Liaison Committee and STM's Library Relation Committee should form a working group to come up with recommandations for the dissolution of hitherto controversial issues.

May I wish you on behalf of IPA and STM a very successful conference. Thank you.

Speech on August 17, 1998 (Final Version)
On the occasion of the 64 IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) General Conference on Crossroads of Information and Culture in Amsterdam