Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians, Third Edition

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Of the second edition, ARBA declared, “Harris’s book has become the standard for libraries and has yet to have an equal published that is either as useful or as clear.” Covering the basics of digital licensing for librarians, the new third edition provides a freshened look at all the key issues as well as updated sample agreement clauses. Giving library professionals and students the understanding and the tools needed to negotiate and organize license agreements, Harris uses a plain-language approach that demystifies the process. Her guide

  • explains licensing terminology and discusses changes in technology, including developments such as text and data mining;
  • points out opportunities for cost savings;
  • features many useful tools such as a comprehensive digital license checklist;
  • provides sources of additional information on the global aspects of licensing; and
  • walks readers through educating organizations that have signed license agreements.

In its new edition, this resource remains a must-have for all information professionals who deal with licenses for electronic resources.

Note to Canadian and Other Non-U.S. Readers
Quick-Starter Tips for a Successful Agreement


1 When to License
2 Demystifying the Licensing Experience
3 Learning the Lingo
4 Key Digital Licensing Clauses
5 Boilerplate Clauses
6 Un-Intimidating Negotiations
7 Questions and Answers on Licensing
8 Go License!


  • A Fair Use–Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act
  • B Interlibrary Loan–Section 108 of the U.S. Copyright Act
  • C Digital Licensing Clauses Checklist

Online Resources
About the Author

Lesley Ellen Harris

Lesley Ellen Harris, JD, has spent her entire career working in copyright law as an author, blogger, educator, lawyer and consultant on legal, business, policy, and strategic issues in the publishing, entertainment, Internet, and information industries. She has served a broad range of clients and taught a broad range of students, and she frequently works with libraries, archives, museums, and educational institutions. She often speaks at conferences, and teaches in-person and online courses on copyright and licensing in the United States, Canada, and globally through and in conjunction with national and regional associations in Canada and the United States. After completing law school, Harris worked with the Canadian government on copyright policy underlying statutory copyright reform. As a policy advisor, Harris gained an international perspective on copyright, undertaking international studies and comparing how copyright laws worked in various countries. Her portfolios included examining copyright for libraries, archives, museums, and educational institutions and understanding the balance in domestic copyright laws and international copyright treaties. Harris is the author of the books Digital Property: Currency of the 21st Century (1997), Canadian Copyright Law (4th ed., 2014), Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians (3rd ed., 2018), and numerous articles. In 1998, she founded the website She is also the founder and CEO of, a company that promotes copyright literacy education and provides an opportunity for librarians and other nonlawyers around the world to become more aware and educated about copyright law and licensing digital content. Harris always likes to hear from her readers and can be contacted through

"This single volume is a good first resource for librarians who want to gain a better understanding of how to license digital content ... The book includes detailed chapters, analysis, terminology, a thorough index, and examples of copyright law, all compiled by an expert in the field.”
— Booklist

"This guide is an excellent primer for anyone who is new to digital content licensing. It also can be useful as a refresher for those who have been in the business for a while. It presents licensing in simple, jargon-free language and demystifies a process that is quite opaque to anyone who is new.”
— Technicalities

"Harris is enthusiastic, well-versed, and thoroughly explanatory on challenges and considerations for libraries licensing digital content. All content is written in layman’s terms and is easily understandable ... This resource is invaluable for all librarians handling licenses and negotiations.”