• The contract would be only with the individual who used the images from our
site. If he/she gave them to a third party who used them commercially, Cornell
would have no legal recourse against that third party. Cornell could only bring
legal action against the person who actually downloaded the images.
• It would be very difficult to identify which individual actually downloaded
the images that were subsequently distributed in violation of the license. As
part of its settlement agreement with authors and publishers, Google will
do this by embedding identifying information into prints and downloads.
Given our library’s commitment to confidentiality, I am not sure that
Cornell would want to emulate what Google is going to do, even if
technically we could.
• The Internet Archive indicated that it has no mechanism to place a click-
through license in front of content or a browse-wrap license on the site.
This option would therefore only work with Cornell’s Web site. It would
not have made sense to have different terms for the same material
depending on whether it is coming from Cornell or the Internet Archive.
Was there an option that would be
less restrictive than a contract?
Yes. Although we may not have been able to restrict legally what people could
do with the scans, we could have included a statement that indicated Cornell’s
preferences. We simply could have asked individuals not to use the scans in
ways that concerned us and explained why we were asking for their cooperation.
We could also have implemented certain technical measures that would limit
problematic activities—for example, the bulk downloading of books from
Cornell’s Web sites. But we would not have had a legally enforceable contract
with users. If users could get copies, they could offer our scans for sale through
print-on-demand sites or other commercial ventures.
Does any other major service or
database use a voluntary license?
Google uses an aspirational statement with its books. There’s a page that they
place in the front of their scanned books in which they ask that people only use
the books for personal, non-commercial purposes.
But that’s not without its issues, correct?
Google has been harshly criticized for including this statement in its books.
Removing All Restrictions: Cornell’s New Policy on Use of Public Domain Reproductions
C O N T I N U E D
OCTOBER 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC