Relative link to attachment feature should be abondoned

Well, some people may strongly disagree, but this is what I think.

Because file attachments contain significant numbers of copyright protected materials, Endnote should not automatically make duplicates of attachments and place them in .Data folder.

I understand it is a convenient feature because you can move .Data folder wherever you want, and attachment is still there. However, we also face some serious copyright violation inadvertently. Most of the downloaded full text articles are permitted through institution’s subscription. If we pass these .Data folder to someone else, we give out copyright protected materials to someone who don’t have license to view. Endnote developmer or end user (us) may face serious law suite by publishers.

My suggestion is to strengthen “absolute link” feature by enabling more robust capacity, like “automated re-link” or something like that.

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You are right, I strongly disagree. 

That is sort of like saying that if I photocopied my paper at my former institute, and move to a place they don’t carry the journal, so I should throw it away.  At least in the sciences, there is the move to “free access” after a period of time.  I find it much more convenient to know that my papers are all neatly filed automatically in reasonably named folders in my .DATA folder, which can move with me (in case I move, which I don’t intend to, if anyone from my Institution is subscribed to the list!).

Please don’t eliminate this feature!

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Open discussion welcome!

My opinion is mostly about to protect end users, such that end users do not face serious law suites from publishers by inadvertently distributing copyrighted materials (with endnote library .data folder).

I wish most of the journal articles go free access (in fact, they are), but I do not think other copyrighted materials, like e-books, will go to free access.

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Let’s continue to agree to disagree (especially as it happens so rarely between the two of us!)  We shouldn’t make cars illegal because people sometimes use them to break the law (say, by speeding?):wink:

Message Edited by Leanne on 02-15-2009 04:55 PM

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I like of course useful tools, as long as it is equipped with safety features that warn users of risk. In some countries, cars need to be equipped with alarm when the speed goes more than 100km/h. Recently, alcohol detecter is equipped to prevent DUI.

Currently, the relative link feature (making automatic duplicates of PDFs into .DATA folder) does not warn users about the risk of potentially violating copyright regulations. For example, some of my e-books, purchased through online, do not allow me to copy the PDFs. So, when I first used relative link, I wasn’t able to open the attachment, and couldn’t figure out why I can’t. That’s another reason I use absolute link (in my case, using URL field).

My point is, relative link feature is not necessary, if the absolute link feature is equipped with inteligent features, like automatic re-link. Some programs that use object attachment (embedding), like Adobe InDesign, can re-link very easily.

I presume sharing PDF files will be a big legal issue, particularly for publishers, and I don’t want Endnote to become a platform of illegal sharing. Like DVD shrink or Napster, they started as very useful tools, basically relying on users’ fair use and common sense, but copyright issues hammered them down. In those cases, users were probably not blamed, but who knows.

Message Edited by myoshigi on 02-15-2009 05:14 PM

Message Edited by myoshigi on 02-15-2009 05:35 PM

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By the way, if I have a pdf file from a journal only my institution has subscription, or a pdf full article I bought from a publisher, and send them to you, are you able to open and view? I think you are, but doing so is probably violating copyright law. Don’t you think?

I checked security tab in the pdf files, and most of them are “no security”. I think the problem is also around acrobat itself or publishers themselves.

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I guess this forum has a lot of librarians who know a lot better about these legal issues.

How libraries deal with these massive PDF downloads in terms of sharing them across institutions?

Discussion from librarians is also welcome!

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Well, I did contact our Librarians, and they seemed totally unworried about his.  They said that they thought that we users would be within our rights to share this material (in a limited way-, i.e… not posting it them on the internet reminiscent of Napster!), under “Educational Fair Use” guidelines - at least in the USA. 

Since Endnote has provided the ability to download and attach papers to our records, for many years in fact, and nothing has come up, I suspect we have very little to worry about.  Not to mention, that it doesn’t matter if the links are relative or are absolute.  If what you fear is true, then you would want to return to just linking the URL to the publishers web links, and that would be a huge step backwards IMHO.  I have a number of records in my library downloaded from pubmed, in the old days, that no longer work.  Pubmed changed their linking structure, and some old versions are not available with out an addition purchase after a certain number of years, even for current subscribers, so- please let me keep my PDFs?

Finally, I always downloaded any reference I put into my library, if available.  Full text download just makes it easier. 


I’m not so worried about the copyright issue.  However, I strongly opine that absolute links should be enabled by default, and if the user then wants to use relative links, (s)he should have to set that in the options.  This is for a number of reasons, but most importantly that one can easily convert a library from absolute to relative, but not the other way around.

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My two cents:

A benefit to relative links is that it can make transfer the library from one of your computers to another of your computers much easier.  I have seen many users with the older version of EndNote add their PDFs, get a new computer and transferring the library to the new computer.  Then the PDFs stop working because the path to their My Documents changed.

Message Edited by PTravis on 03-24-2009 02:26 PM

As long as Thomson Reuters is not attacked by publishers, probably I don’t need to worry about copyright issues. Yes, relative link makes it easy to transfer Endnote library from on PC to another, but in my case, PDF file collection is way too big to put all of them in .data folder.