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Consequences of Copyright Violation

Carpenter Library's electronic resources, such as MD Consult, are protected under both the U.S. Copyright Law and our licensing agreements with individual vendors. As a result, companies carefully watch for misuse of their materials and report any abuses to us. They frequently track use by email, IP address, and user ID, and can quickly tell if there is unusual activity involving use of e-resources.

What is abuse or misuse?
Downloading numerous chapters of an e-book or an entire issue of an e-journal is considered a violation of most contracts. This activity is denoted when there are repeated downloads or printing of substantial numbers of pages (more than 200), especially in a short period of time. MD Consult and other vendors realize that users may need to look at something several times or print several sections, and their policies allow for this kind of activity. However, when there are dozens of such occurrences within a few days, that is considered abusive. You should not try to avoid buying a textbook by printing chapters, as this is easily spotted and reported by the publishers. Downloading text or files to create departmental databases or Intranet resources is also prohibited by our contracts and the copyright law.

What’s the big deal?
Misuse of any copyrighted materials can result in cancellation of the resource for Wake Forest. Unless we can stop the abuse, a publisher may cancel all access – immediately and without refunding money. If that happens, we may not be able to subscribe again, without stricter password requirements or paying substantially higher fees. In some cases, the publishers could bring suits against the University or the individual user. Abuse of copyrighted works could result in loss of computer privileges and access to other Wake Forest systems.

What happens if someone misuses e-resources?
For a system that requires an individual account, such as MD Consult, we will first ask the vendor to immediately and permanently cancel the account and block all applications for future access. We will try to contact the account holder directly and copy any correspondence to the immediate supervisor or appropriate dean. We will also notify key offices within the Medical Center that handle compliance issues.

How can misuse be prevented?
Do not share your ID and password to any e-resource with anyone. If you are helping someone or teaching a class, do NOT give out your password, since authorized Wake Forest users can easily obtain their own accounts. Remember that sharing any Wake Forest password is a violation of the University’s computer policies. The Library will hold you responsible for any misuse, even by another person using your credentials, and your accounts with the Library will be cancelled.

Adapted from "Big Brother is Watching E-Resources" by Pat Thibodeau, Associate Dean for Library Services, Duke University Medical Center Library. 


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