Thursday, June 07, 2012

Even Playing Fields

The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) published its Guide to Fair Business Practices for Publishers (2nd edition, 2008). They are now in the process of making what are really rather minor revisions to the document. The wonderful Committee on Relations with Information Vendors (CRIV) has a new blog where you can go to link to the proposed changes, and read about how to submit your comments.

The AALL Consumer Advocacy Caucus has looked over the changes and is submitting comments, but the more members who comment, the better. Publishers and consumers alike have an interest in fair business practices. When one or a few publishers engage in unfair practices, the other publishers or vendors who try to conduct their business along fair guidelines are put at a disadvantage. When everybody maintains fair business practices, there is an even playing field, which improves competition, benefiting the marketplace and consumers as well.

I was initially surprised when there were some publishers interested in joining the Consumer Advocacy Caucus, but after listening to a presentation or two from some of the more vocal, I understand better their point of view. It is not just a matter of large publishers against small publishers.... they are concerned about unfair business practices crushing innovation and competition in the marketplace. And consumers have the very same concerns. Speaking up and asking question about problematic business practices benefits everyone in the long run, including the publishers who think they are getting away with something!

No comments: