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Re: Double Licenses

I am confused.  Let's assume that a vendor and the university sign a
license agreement for the vendor to provide the university with student
access to a digital database.  The license (contract) prohibits certain
uses. Among the prohibited uses is mass downloading of the database or
republishing the materials on the Internet.  If a student successfully
copies material to a public Internet site, in violation of the license,
the violation is between the university and the vendor because they are
the parties to the contract.  It is a breach of contract - no copyright
issues involved.  The vendor can sell you a license to a digital copy of
the phone book (ProCite does don't they).  The contract is binding
despite the fact that it is  unprotected by copyright law.

The responsibility for preventing violations of the license lie with the
university.  Punishment of the student is the university's problem. That
should be fine with the vendor since the student is likely to be
impoverished or unidentifiable.

It is not a copyright issue.  It is a question of contract law. 
However, that does not mean the student can freely do what she wants. 
The student can only assume the rights the university has available to
transfer.  Another words, there is still no fair use issue for the
student because there is no fair use right to transfer.  In practical
terms, this just means that this defense is unavailable to the
university when everyone goes to court.

It would seem in the best interests of the university to warn the
students about any restrictions on the database.  The question of the
vendor's "double license" should be covered in the original license the
university and the vendor signed.  Someone at the university should be
carefully examining the license.  I have seen at least one contract this
year where the corporation attorneys got confused and placed the wrong
parties in the wrong place in the contract...


(naturally the opinions, errors in logic, or whatever, that appear above
are solely my own) 

           Steven Melamut
   Kathrine R. Everett Law Library
    University of North Carolina
CB #3385 Ridge Road    Chapel Hill, NC 27599
work: 919-962-1194         fax: 919-962-1193