As bibliographic software allows you to download and store information from bibliographic databases and other sources there are some copyright implications that you need to bear in mind.
Databases Licensed under the standard CHEST agreement
Single electronic copies of data searches may be held for semi-permanent storage on a magnetic storage medium for personal use. Users are required to delete all such copies on termination of their course or their employment at the University. Therefore, you can download references from databases to EndNote or RefWorks for your research or teaching requirements.
Users cannot distribute electronic copies of their data searches. Therefore, you would be infringing copyright if you sent a copy of an EndNote/RefWorks database to another researcher. However, you can distribute up to 50 copies of individual items to other authorised users in print form.
Individual Database Licenses that differ from the standard CHEST agreement
Some database licences differ from the standard CHEST agreement. For example, the CAS SciFinder Scholar license states that single electronic copies of data searches may be stored, as above, but no more than 5000 records from the Scifinder Scholar database can be stored by any one person at any one time. (They also state that you can share electronic copies on-campus only to people working on the same research project). Whereas, Criminal Justice Abstracts states that single electronic copies of data searches can be saved to a magnetic storage medium to be used for editing or temporary storage only.
The use of databases that can be accessed without the Library having to sign a formal license agreement will, in virtually all cases, be governed by The Copyright & Rights in Database Regulations which came into force on 1st January 1998. Under these regulations, provision has been made to protect certain kinds of collections of material as databases under copyright, and/or under a new form of property right known as database right.
The regulations state that extraction or re-utilisation of all or a substantial part of the contents of a database without the consent of the owner of database right, infringes that right. You also have to bear in mind that repeated and systematic extraction or re-utilisation of insubstantial parts of the contents of a database without the consent of the owner of database right may amount to the extraction or re-utilisation of a substantial part of those contents, and therefore to an infringement of the right.
It would be a good idea to consider this issue if you frequently search and download references from the same bibliographic database into your bibliographic software.