Frequently Asked Questions About HL7 IP Licensed at No Cost

ACCESSING HL7's INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP)

  1. Where can I find the IP?

    HL7 is licensing the use of much of its IP at no cost. You can find all of our Standards under the Standards tab from the home page.

  2. What are the steps to download the IP?

    All users must complete a click-through license registration process to participate. Members use their usual log in and non-members need to create an account. Find the Standard you want via the Standards tab and follow the prompts including agreeing to the terms of the license.

  3. Why do non-members have to create a userid and password (register on the website) to download?

    We need to uniquely identify each individual in order to provide a license.

  4. When did HL7 announce that the IP was going to provided free of charge?

    HL7 has on several occasions announced its intention to license its standards and select IP free of charge since it made the first announcement on September 4, 2012. Provision of standards and other selected HL7 IP under free-of-charge licenses commenced on April 1, 2013.

WHAT MATERIAL IS BEING LICENSED AT NO COST?

  1. What material is being made available at no cost?

    Standards that have already received ANSI approval will be licensed at no cost. Additionally, published implementation guides, profiles and Domain Analysis Models (DAM), and current (although not expired) Draft Standards for Trial Use (DSTU) will be licensed at no cost. Members will have early access to new HL7 standards as a member-only benefit; these will be licensed free-of-charge to non-members after 3 months.

  2. What other select IP is available besides Standards and Implementation Guides?

    Profiles and Domain Analysis Models are considered other select IP. The HL7 Board will determine on a case-by-case basis whether other IP such as tools will be licensed for at no cost.

  3. Will DAMS and Functional Profiles still be licensed at no cost?

    Yes.

  4. Can I get the Claims Attachments AIS R2.1 (most frequently downloaded standard)?

    Yes.

  5. Can I download the whole Normative Edition at no cost?

    Yes. The most current version of the Normative Edition is available for download at no cost to non-members three months after publication. Members have immediate access to all versions of the Normative Editions.

MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS RELATED QUESTIONS

  1. Why should I pay HL7 membership dues?

    Our membership is what supports HL7 to develop standards and IP at no charge. Without members paying their membership fees, the organization will not be able to continue developing standards or licensing its standards at no cost. HL7 is currently exploring the development of new benefits to enhance your membership. We believe that healthcare organizations that benefit from the use of HL7 standards should be willing to support the organization and the widespread distribution of its standards and IP at no charge in order to increase their use globally.

  2. Since the IP is available at no cost, what is the advantage of being a member?

    There are many advantages of being an HL7 member, including the following.

    • The most important advantage is the engagement in the development of standards, such as those for Meaningful Use, which is driving the healthcare industry in the US and beyond. Only HL7 members can actively participate in all aspects of the development and balloting of standards.
    • Those who actively participate in the development and balloting of standards should have a competitive advantage over passive users. Thus new HL7 standards will be available to members for three months prior to being released to non-members.
    • Having direct access to HL7's community and collective knowledge is an advantage of membership as is the ability to influence the direction of the organization and its work by running for leadership positions and casting votes in leadership elections.
    • Organizational members have always enjoyed the advantage of being able to develop product-specific implementation guides for their clients and now they may distribute these publicly (e.g. on a public website) under our normal licensing terms.
    • While non-members may create HL7 implementation guides, profiles and machine processable representations of HL7 standards, they need to be members if they wish to distribute these derivative works outside their organization. See the section on License Agreement Terms below for more details.
    • Your financial contributions as a member help ensure that there is sufficient support for HL7 to continue its development, balloting  and free-of-charge publication of eHealth standards meeting the needs of stakeholders for the benefit of potential users around the world.
    • HL7 is currently exploring the development of additional benefits to enhance your membership.
  3. What are the additional benefits going to be?

    A number of additional benefits are under consideration including:

    • Free or highly discounted rates for training such as webinars, day-long sessions, multi-day programs like our new Meaningful Use webinar series and the HL7 Fundamentals Courses
    • Certification of products for HL7 compliance and/or conformance
    • Certification of advanced HL7 expertise (for teaching or consulting)
    • Help desk access
    • Exclusive or heavily discounted access to standards development and implementation tooling and other specific intellectual property
  4. When are additional membership benefits going to be released?

    HL7 hopes to announce additional membership benefits at the Plenary and Working Group Meeting to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts from September 22-27, 2013.

  5. I don't have a product; why would I want a membership?

    • You likely use HL7-enabled products or collect data that is made available for your use via HL7-enabled products. In these instances, you should have an interest in, and will certainly benefit by being actively involved in, the development and balloting of the standards that you rely on.
    • HL7 member benefits include training and access to experts that will enhance your employees' knowledge and value.
    • If you or your organization benefits from the use of HL7, we hope that you will continue to support our work in developing global healthcare standards.
  6. We are passive users and have a vendor product. We don't do any development. Why do we need a membership?

    See the answer to question 5 above.

  7. Why would I pay for an organizational membership when I can just get individual memberships for people who need benefits?

    Individual members do not enjoy the same benefits as organizational members.

    • While individual members may create product-specific implementation guides for internal use, they are not authorized to reproduce excerpts of HL7 standards or distribute derivative works, whose creation and publication are controlled under the terms of HL7 licenses.
    • HL7 organizational members, on the other hand, are authorized to create and distribute product-specific implementation guides for their customers and also to the public.
    • Organizational members are authorized to make copies of the standard to share internally and to use excerpts of the standards (but not whole chapters or specifications) in publications; individual members are not granted these rights.
    • Individual members are not authorized to use the HL7 member or Care Connected by HL7 logos on their products, websites and promotional materials.
    • Finally, a number of new benefits that are being created will not be available to individual members. Or, if they are made available to individual members, the cost of accessing the benefits may be significantly higher than for organizational memebrs.

MEMBERSHIP DUES RELATED QUESTIONS

  1. Is my membership free now or will the cost of membership be reduced since the IP is now available at no cost?

    Membership is not free. There are no current plans to reduce membership dues but HL7 is currently exploring the development of new benefits to enhance your membership.

  2. Can I get a refund of membership dues recently paid?

    Refunds are not available.

  3. Does HL7 use any of its membership revenue for lobbying?

    No

  4. We are currently members; when the new membership structure goes into effect, will we be invoiced for additional dues?

    No. Dues are assessed and paid once each year. You will be invoiced at your normal time of renewal. For example, if your normal renewal date is in July and you pay your dues at that time, you would not see any increases in your rates until July of next year, and that would only occur should the Board decide to raise membership fees.

  5. Will the membership dues decrease, increase or stay the same in 2014?

    HL7 is closely monitoring its membership renewals, new membership applications and its operating costs. If revenues from membership applications and renewals appear sufficient to continue covering operating costs, there may be little or no change in the membership fees. We are also assessing which of the new benefits under consideration are most desired by our current members. If offering those benefits requires a significant investment, some membership dues may increase.

  6. Will meeting and event registration fees increase?

    Registration fees are expected to increase significantly for non-members.

LICENSE AGREEMENT TERMS

  1. Will HL7 standards be in the public domain?

    No. Our standards and selected IP will be available at no cost under a licensing agreement by which HL7 will retain its copyright and specific terms will apply.

  2. Will users be able to modify HL7 standards?

    No. HL7 will retain the copyright and will follow current processes to make any needed changes in the standards. Users will be freely able to study, implement and develop products based on HL7 standards and to create implementation profiles under the proposed licensing terms. The HL7 member community will continue to develop and maintain HL7 standards and other HL7 products through HL7 International as an accredited standards development organization (SDO), and in collaboration with its international affiliates, which also produce realm localizations.

  3. What is a derivative work?

    An example of a derivative work is an implementation guide. The US Copyright Office defines derivative work as follows: A derivative work is a work based on or derived from one or more already existing works. Also known as a "new version," a derivative work is copyrightable if it includes what copyright law calls an "original work of authorship." Any work in which the editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications represent, as a whole, an original work of authorship is a derivative work or a new version.

  4. I am an organizational member. What types of derivative works am I authorized to create?

    Under the normal license terms, HL7 organizational members are authorized to create the following derivative works:

    • Implementation guides that incorporate excerpts of the standards. These should acknowledge HL7 as the copyright holder of the excerpted material and may be distributed internally, to your customers and externally (such as on a public website).
    • Profiles that assert conformance to HL7. These can be distributed without limitation.
    • HL7 material that has been translated into executable code or other machine processable form which results in the creation of a new work (in the form of an adaptation) that implements the material and is not regarded as a reproduction. Such machine processable implementations (for example, interface software products) may be distributed without limitation.
    • Technical documentation of your system(s); this may be created, and distributed without limitation.
    • Educational materials; these may be created and published without limitation.
    • Translations of any of the above.

    Any of the above derivative works may contain excerpts of HL7 copyright material (but not whole chapters or substantial parts of any HL7specification).

    While none of the above derivative works can state or imply that they are endorsed by HL7 (unless  they have undergone an official endorsement process, such as balloting), organizational members can use the Care Connected by HL7 logo on their products and the HL7 Organizational logo (supplied by HL7 Headquarters) on their materials.

  5. I am an individual member. What types of derivative works can I create?

    Individual members can create the same types of derivative works as non-members as explained below.

  6. I'm not a member. Can I create derivative works?

    HL7 authorizes non-members to create the following derivative works:

    • Implementation guides for internal use only.  Distribution of these outside your organization is not permitted.
    • Profiles that assert conformance of a product to HL7 standards.   Such conformance profiles may be distributed without limitation.
    • Translations of HL7 material into executable code or other machine processable form which results in the creation of a new work (in the form of an adaptation) that implements the material and is not regarded as a reproduction and distribution of excerpts.  Such machine processable implementations (for example, interface software products) may be distributed without limitation.
    • Technical documentation of your system(s); this may be created, and distributed without limitation.
    • Educational materials; these may be created and published without limitation.
    • Translations of any of the above.

    Under the normal HL7 license terms these derivative works may not contain excerpts of HL7 copyright material not otherwise permitted under US copyright law, and may not carry the HL7 logo nor state or imply that they are endorsed by HL7.

  7. Who do I contact to get permission to create a derivative work not on the list above and what is the process for approving such a request?

    Requests to create or publish a derivative work should be addressed to Karenvan@HL7.org. The HL7 Executive Committee will review and make a determination on all derivative work requests that fall outside those authorized under the normal license terms, as summarized above

  8. I'm an individual, student or health professional member. Why can't I share the freely licensed standards with others?

    HL7 is the sole licensing agent for its standards. We remain the source of truth by requiring people to come to our website and obtain a license. This also enables HL7 to track who is using its standards and which standards are being used most frequently. Collection of this type of data, which drives standards developments, is not possible if we allow everyone to share the standards with whomever they like. Organizational members are allowed to share the standards internally with their employees. Learn more at http://www.hl7.org/legal/ippolicy.cfm.

  9. Why do I have to annually confirm or update my contact information?

    HL7 tracks the use of its standards. We cannot track this type of data without having current data on our licensees. Since the standards are being licensed at no cost, we do not feel that it is an unreasonable request for users to confirm or refresh their contact data annually. Information provided will not be shared with others and will be used for HL7 purposes only.

  10. What happens if I don't confirm or update my contact information?

    You will be unable to download any more standards.

  11. What will be done with the information that is collected on the license agreements?

    We will be tracking all standards that are being accessed and by which stakeholders. We hope to observe trends that will help us better understand our customers and their needs.

  12. Why can't I put your freely licensed standards on my intranet or share with my employees?

    Those wishing to share HL7 standards on their intranet or with their employees should become organizational members of HL7. While a non-member organization can accept a license for HL7 standards, each employee from that organization who wishes to use the standard must obtain a license via the HL7 website.