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Re: Legal signatures ramifications

This is an extremely interesting question with much wider ramifications.
It is part of the duty of all those of us involved in the information
chain to try to ensure the preservation of the authenticity of the message
which we are helping an author transmit to a reader. I am sure that a
concern for what European moral rights legislation calls integrity and
paternity is going to loom larger in the lives of publishers and
librarians in the future.

As I see it the problem lies both in the cost of ensuring authenticity by
mechanical means such as watermarking or encryption and, if encryption is
involved, the danger of making use/access difficult for those who are
entitled to use/access.

Anthony Watkinson

----- Original Message -----
> I'd adore it if anyone could give me insight on the following dilemma.
> Our Legal department wants to put all of their contracts online for easier
> searching and so they don't have to fax them to our salespeople. They are
> scanning in signed contracts, as the salespeople need the signatures to
> show customers.
> However, they don't want anyone to be able to alter these contracts.
> Apparently, by federal law, any facsimile of a contract with signatures is
> still a legal contract, and we could be held liable for someone who has a
> copy and somehow changes it.
> We are scanning the contracts into Acrobat, putting them into a document
> management system, and preventing anyone from saving a copy and changing
> it on their desktop without a password (they have to be able to print to
> take a copy to customers).
> Of course, there is still always the opportunity to do a screen shot when
> viewing, or print a copy out, scan it in, and edit it on the desktop
> somehow. These possibilities are frightening our legal department into
> abandoning putting contracts on line. They realize they face the same
> possibilities when faxing contracts to the sales people, but it's on a
> much smaller scale since not all the contracts are easily obtainable that
> way.
> Has anyone else faced such a situation? How did you resolve it? Does
> anyone have contracts on line in their systems? Does anyone know of any
> changes to the law that might protect a company in these situations?
> Any help is appreciated.
> Janet Kaul, Corporate Knowledge Librarian, jmk@synopsys.com
> ------------- End Forwarded Message -------------