Using Licensed Works

If the work to be used is covered by a license, i.e., a contract, then the terms of that license will govern all proposed uses.  That is to say, any uses potentially authorized by provisions in the Copyright Act, such as fair use, may not be available, if specifically excluded by the license.  The terms of the license agreement will govern instead.

This makes it very important that the terms of the license be reviewed carefully - whether you are responsible for negotiating and signing the license or whether you simply wish to access and/or use the works covered by the license.  Unless your work requires you to license materials for use by your employer and its authorized users, such as the licensed e-resources of a university library (see LSU Libraries E-Resources Terms and Conditions), you will most likely encounter licenses on the internet, most commonly click-through licenses, browse-wrap licenses, often presented as site "terms and conditions." 

Click-through licenses, that is those requiring an affirmative 'click' of the mouse on an "I Agree" box, are both ubiquitous and enforceable, whether you actually read the terms or not.  Browse-wrap licenses, usually designated as "Terms and Conditions" linked to a website are not uniformly enforceable.  Courts are divided on this and it often depends upon the particular facts of a situation.  You should proceed with caution and would be best served by assuming that these terms and conditions are enforceable. 

Both click-through and browse-wrap terms are non-negotiable.  The only option left to a user who wishes to access and/or use materials falling under these licenses, but who finds the terms unacceptable, is to forego the resource entirely.

Conversely, if you are authoring and making your own works available online, you should include your own terms and conditions.  Consider using a Creative Commons license - these licenses are recognized world-wide and you can tailor a license to your needs.