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Distorting the "balance"? Marginalising copyright exceptions through restrictive licencing?

The project will be looking at the interaction between legislation and state regulation of academic resources available online. Specially, the project will look at the restricted contractual obligations that are formulated under licence agreements. Furthermore, the project will address two primary areas of law: copyright law and contract law. Underlying the project will be the values of freedom to information, right to manage under contract law in commercial enterprises, and the role of the state in regulating the sharing of intellectual property.

The project will seek to look at agreements between academic institutions and databases as to how the restrictive licencing may look between both interested parties. At the same time, the project will assess copyright legislation and how effective its overarching role has been in this area. Avenues of redress through contract are then to be explored as to whether they produce any solution, or whether further action is to be taken in the form of legislation.

Internationally speaking, this area of data sharing presents many opportunities to question which jurisdiction would be appropriate for both legislative measures and contractual rules. As well, the project would assess the role of public interest, addressing particular legislation concerning the interest of the public as an underlying value, and how a restrictive licencing agreement may subsequently overturn the respect for public interest.

Looking to explore more underlying values in the market for information such as university libraries and sites of scholarly research, the project wishes to address the question as whether information is to be seen and dealt with legally as a commercial venture or as a right. The answer to this question will lead to whether freedom should be given to restrictive licencing or whether significant copyright legislation is to intervene.

Finally, by exploring this area within different legal systems, the project will also touch on whether particular jurisdictions may deal with electronic resources differently than others. Leading from this, the project would question whether any international legal measures are required and whether international law would be effective in this area.

Academic sponsors: Marc Mimler (School of Law) and Timothy Dodsworth (School of Law)

Currently, I am researching for this project in central/eastern Canada. I am returning to the UK later in September.

Universities of interest in England & Wales:
University of Warwick (Coventry, UK)

Universities of interest in Canada:
Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada)
University of Ottawa (Ottawa, Canada)
University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada)

Consortia of interest:
Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN)
Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC)
Eduserv