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Fw: Re: use of postcards on a commercial website

Anyone have any commet on this?
Steve Smolian
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 5:26 PM
Subject: Re: use of postcards on a commercial website

At 03:13 PM 3/21/01 -0600, Dean DeBolt wrote:
That we are a
public institution has no effect on the enforcement of
copyright ...

On the contrary, your status as a state public institution may indeed have an effect on the enforcement of copyright laws.

Some recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that institutions of state government (including state universities or state archives) are immune from copyright infringement suits.  The issue boils down to the fact that copyright infringement suits must be brought in federal court, and the 11th amendment says in effect that a state or state agency may not be sued in federal courts for dollar damages.  In the recent case of Chavez v. Arte Publico Press <http://www.utsystem.edu/ogc/intellectualproperty/chavez.htm>, a copyright infringement suit against the University of Houston was dropped on these grounds.

Of course, before employees at state institutions start violating copyrights, I would encourage them to check with their own legal counsel.  There are risks other than copyright infringement that may come into play.  

Peter Hirtle
Peter B. Hirtle
Co-Director                                pbh6@xxxxxxxxxxx
Cornell Institute for Digital Collections     607/255-4033 (ph)
2B Kroch Library                                   607/255-9524 (fax)
Cornell University                <http://cidc.library.cornell.edu/>
Ithaca, NY  14853
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