Guide to the JISC Model Licence
A licence is a formal permission to use something, in this case paid-for online content. It is a document that contains all the terms and conditions of use associated with that content, detailing what can and can’t be done, by whom, for how long, and what happens if there are any problems.
In the typical online subscription model, the institution is paying for access to the content, not ownership of it. Digital content, by its nature, is very easy to copy and redistribute, so the access to it and the ways in which it can be used need to be controlled at a level beyond the wider laws of copyright.
We have specially drafted the Jisc Model Licence to include all the terms and conditions that your institution and your users need in order to make sure that you can get the most out of the online resources they subscribe to. Generally this means that it will be more favourable than any standard commercial licence. We use our Model Licence as the basis of every agreement we negotiate on behalf of our members – universities, colleges, research councils and affiliates.
- It makes licensing easier to manage, because the terms and conditions are consistent across all agreements and the language is straightforward
- It makes online resources easier to promote, because you can do more with a resource that comes with a Jisc Model Licence
- It means you have an accurate, auditable record of exactly what you have paid for; including pricing, title lists and date ranges, and your entitlement when your subscription ends
- It means that the product you are buying meets certain standards (such as UKAMF, COUNTER, Project Transfer etc.)
- Our Jisc Online Ordering System associated with the Jisc Model Licence saves time, paperwork and postage costs
We have a number of different versions of our Model Licence. Which one we use is determined by the following factors:
- The format of the resource (current journals, journals archive, e-books, database, video etc.)
- The business model (subscription or outright purchase)
- The licensing model (either a direct licence with the publisher, or a sub-licence with Jisc Collections for content we have licensed from the publisher and are allowed to sub-license on to you).
Whichever version is used, the permissions, restrictions and responsibilities will be essentially the same.
Our Model Licence is a starting point for negotiations with publishers. We make every effort to retain all the clauses, but occasionally we accept some amendments in order to get a good deal for our members. This only occurs after consultation with skilled legal counsel contracted by us to ensure the interests of the community are protected.
You should always check the precise wording of the terms and conditions of each licence, and if necessary seek help from Jisc Collections or advice from your own lawyers before you accept it.
The Jisc Model Licence tells you:
- Who in your institution is allowed to use the resource
- What you can and can’t do
- What your users can and can’t do
- What your responsibilities are as an institution
- What the responsibilities are of the licensor (either the Publisher, or Jisc Collections)
It also includes other terms and conditions that protect both you, your institution, your users and the publisher, such as the duration of the agreement, grounds for termination, acknowledgement of intellectual property rights, warranties and indemnities, force majeure and the law under which the agreement is governed.
The schedules contain important information about:
- How much you will be charged for access to the resource
- Exactly what you will have access to (title lists, date ranges etc.)
- The standards with which the resource should comply (COUNTER, W3C, Project Transfer, Open URL) and which third-party archiving solution (LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, Portico) the publisher uses.
Jisc Collections uses its Jisc Online Ordering Service in connection with its Licences. Acceptance of a Licence negotiated by Jisc Collections is not through signature but by clicking on the relevant section in the Subscription Order and Acceptance Form attached to the relevant Licence which will be made available through the Online Ordering Service.
The Licence refers to “Authorised Users”. These fall into three categories based on their relationship with your institution:
- Students (including undergraduates, postgraduates, and registered students of your institution who may take their course in another institution, such as a partner FE institution). Some licences also include alumni
- Staff (including retired members of staff, contractors, and those people who are teaching your authorised users at another institution)
- Walk-In Users
The licence does not specify in detail who qualifies as a student or member of staff – we leave that decision up to you.
A Walk-In User is NOT a current student or member of staff of your institution, but a member of the public permitted to use your library. They may have access to the resources you subscribe to via your secure network (including secure wireless networks) when physically within the institutional premises, but they are not allowed remote access.
It is up to you to decide if you wish to provide access for walk-in users, but please remember that they must comply with the terms and conditions in exactly the same way as all your other users.
Many institutions have relationships with other institutions such as universities and colleges both within the UK and overseas. Knowing whether staff and students at these institutions can or can’t access the resources you subscribe to can be confusing, especially when access to library resources wasn’t the main consideration of those people putting these arrangements in place.
We have been working to address these issues, and have produced a Decision Tool to help.
Remote access is allowed in all Jisc Model Licences. The Jisc Model Licence requires the publisher to provide for 24/7 access for unlimited simultaneous users by secure authenticated access such as federated access management, secure proxy access, IP authentication.
- There is no difference between what an Authorised User can do on campus and off campus
- Staff and students of institutions can access resources while studying or on sabbatical abroad.
The resource can only be used for “Educational Purposes”. This means teaching (either face-to-face or distance learning), private study and research. If a user has a query about what they can do, ask yourself whether it is educational or not. If it is, then it is allowed. We don’t over-define educational purposes to give as much freedom as possible.
Similarly, the resource must not be used for any “Commercial Use”. This means that it can’t be sold, or charged for, nor should it be used for commercial research. However, we are aware that some courses and research are funded by commercial organisations, or that institutions now charge for courses and other services such as printing etc. This is not counted as Commercial Use provided it is done on a cost basis and a profit is not made.
Moreover, the resource should never be made available to anyone who is not an Authorised User, and never on any network that is not secure.
Members of staff are allowed to:
- Use the resource for inter–library loan and electronic document delivery within the limits as set out in the Jisc Model Licence
- Provide printed and electronic copies of parts of the resource at the request of staff and students
- Download extracts from the resource for training and promotion
- Make copies of training materials in print or electronic format
Students, staff and walk-in users are allowed to:
- Print and save parts of the resource
- Cut, paste, copy parts of the resource into electronic and print materials produced as part of their teaching, learning and research
This means that if staff are putting together teaching and learning materials, reading lists, hand-outs or course packs and interactive tutorials they are allowed to include extracts from the resource as required.
It also means that students can also include extracts in their course work, projects, dissertations and assignments; for example, using a mix of text, images or sound to illustrate an argument in a new way.
Even better, staff and students can take a variety of materials from a variety of resources to create work that is much greater than the sum of its parts. They can then use them at presentations, workshops, conferences and seminars.
Yes, our Model Licence makes it clear that library staff may use the resource for inter-library loans.
Yes, our Model Licence makes it clear that Authorised Users may incorporate parts of the resource in learning materials and objects in VLEs, as long as proper acknowledgement is given. Some publishers, however, permit only links to the content to be included: it is important to check the specific licence for the resource.
Yes, our Model Licence makes it clear that the resource can be used for text and datamining, if appropriate.
Yes, our Model Licence makes it clear that parts of the resource may be deposited in perpetuity in a repository operated by your institution, provided that only your Authorised Users (as defined by the licence) are permitted to access it. As with VLEs, some publishers permit only links to the content to be included in repositories: it is important to check the specific licence for the resource.
Our Model Licence makes frequent reference to "parts of the Licensed Material" throughout the permissions and restrictions. However, there is no absolute definition, and interpretation can vary widely over the exact quantity.
As a rule of thumb, anything that isn’t the ‘whole’ of the Licensed Material (database, book, journal) qualifies as a "part"; however, it is important to remember that for any licence to work there must be trust on both sides, so it is best to use common sense and to avoid the sort of downloading that might be regarded as "systematic".
Our Model Licence specifically prohibits the following actions:
- Selling any part of the resource
- Making any part of the resource available off–site to anyone other than staff and students
- Altering or adapting any part of the resource
- Removing or changing copyright notices or acknowledgements
Note: When ‘copying and pasting’ extracts from the resource, any form of acknowledgment associated with the item must be included (e.g. a copyright caption with an image).
- Making any part of the resource publicly available on the internet
- Using the resource for Commercial Use or for any purpose other than for Educational Purposes.
All of these restrictions continue to apply to any saved content after the end of the licence agreement.
When you accept a Licence you agree to:
- Issue passwords only to your staff and students and make them aware that they must not share their passwords with anyone else
- Use all reasonable efforts to make sure that no-one other than Authorised Users can access the resource.
- Use all reasonable efforts to make sure that staff, students and Walk-in Users are aware of what they are and are not allowed to do with the resource
- Let the publisher or Jisc Collections know
immediately if you are aware of unauthorised access or use of the
resource. Also to take the appropriate steps to ensure unauthorised access
or use is not repeated.
A breach of the Licence is a serious matter and can be grounds for termination of the Licence. This places the rights of other users in jeopardy.
The Publisher most commonly agree to provide you with:
- Access to the content through UK Access Management Federation compliant technologies such as Shibboleth
- Commitment to making the resource available 365 days a year, with only scheduled down-time
- A free, no obligation 30–day trial
- Customer support for you and your users
- Free electronic user guides
- A refund if significant parts of the resource are removed during the subscription, and in journals agreements, the option to cancel or substitute a proportion of the titles.
Our Model Licence also includes:
- A warranty by the publisher that all intellectual property rights (IPR) in the resource are either owned by or licensed to the publisher
- An indemnity by the publisher to protect your institution if you are sued by a third party for IPR infringement for using the resource in accordance with the agreed terms and conditions in the Licence
- A guarantee from the publisher that the resource meets certain industry standards.
Our Model Licence makes reference to "reasonable efforts" throughout the sections on responsibilities. However, there is no absolute definition, and common sense should dictate what these are. A publisher should not expect you to enforce or police conditions that are beyond your control.
If either the institution or the publisher (or Jisc Collections) fails to comply with any of its obligations under the licence this is called a breach. A material breach is a very serious breach which may result in the termination of the Licence. If the breach is not remedied within 30 days, the licence may be terminated. If it is the institution that has committed the breach, the publisher (or Jisc Collections) will remove access to the resource. If it is the publisher that has committed the breach, the institution might be entitled to a refund on its subscription.
It is important to know what rights you have at the end of a Licence. The key things to look out for are:
- If it is a multi-year agreement, can you opt-out at any point, and if so, when, and what is the notice period?
- Are you and your Authorised Users allowed to keep print and electronic parts of the licensed material post-termination?
- In journals agreements, does the publisher offer access to the content that has been subscribed to after cancellation of the agreement, and what provisions are made for this?
Our Model Licence spells these things out very clearly, but wording may vary according to what the publisher can offer, so it is always important to check.
This guide should be used for information purposes only. It does not provide legal advice. Always check the relevant section of the Licence that your institution has signed before you provide access or allow use of a resource, and in doubt, please check with Jisc Collections Helpdesk or seek legal advice.
Last updated: March 2016