Do the acDownloader Terms of Service require me to give away my copyright on the documents I upload to acDownloader?
No. Under U.S. law, every written work is covered by a copyright. You own the copyright to a work by creating the work or otherwise acquiring the copyright to the work from the creator of the work. When you sign up for an acDownloader account, you agree to adhere to the acDownloader Terms of Service. In order to upload a work onto acDownloader in compliance with the Terms of Service, you must either (i) own the copyright to the work you are uploading or (ii) have authority from the copyright owner to upload the work and grant a license to acDownloader to include that work on the acDownloader service. The Terms of Service further state that when you upload a work to acDownloader, you grant to acDownloader a license to use and distribute your uploaded content. This eliminates any doubt that acDownloader's use and distribution of your content through the acDownloader service does not infringe your, or anyone else's, copyright. This is only a license -- you (or the person who authorized you to upload the content) still hold the copyright to the content you upload. You can revoke acDownloader’s license to use the content you upload by removing your content from acDownloader.
What is copyright?
We strongly encourage acDownloader users to familiarize themselves with copyright law before creating and uploading documents. We offer the following links to copyright law resources for informational purposes:
U.S. Copyright Office Copyright FAQ
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse Copyright FAQ
What type of materials are copyrighted?
Copyright is the right of an author of a creative work to prevent others from using that work, including copying it. Copyright can cover almost any creative expression (including a book, comic book, writing, or picture). If you did not create a work and do not have the consent of the copyright holder to publish or use it, your use of that work may be unauthorized.
What happens if I upload documents for which I don’t own the copyright or have consent of the copyright holder?
If you upload documents to which you don’t own the copyright and don’t have permission to upload, you risk getting sued by the copyright owner. If we are notified that a document you have uploaded on acDownloader infringes someone’s copyright, we will notify you and take down the document you posted. This is required by law. If you persist in uploading unauthorized content, we will, pursuant to our Repeat Infringer policy, ban you from using acDownloader.
What about fair use?
The "fair use" doctrine is a defense to copyright infringement in the United States that allows the reproduction of a work for certain limited purposes such as criticism, commentary, parody, news reporting, research and teaching. Fair use is a complicated doctrine, and it is an open question whether a particular use of a copyrighted work constitutes fair use. You are responsible for your contributions and may be liable for money damages if it is determined that you wrongly assumed that your use of certain content constituted “fair use”. We offer the following links to various copyright law resources relating to the fair use doctrine for informational purposes:
U.S. Copyright Office Fair Use
Stanford University Libraries Copyright & Fair Use
Chilling Effects Clearinghouse Copyright and Fair Use
Further Information Regarding Copyright Infringement: