It is a common practice for Web site providers who accept submissions of user-generated content to include a license provision in their “Terms of Use” to obtain rights to use the content. Rather than relying on the uncertain scope of an implied license, the provider can clarify, and hopefully

In A.V. v. iParadigms, LLC, 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 7892 (4th Cir. Apr. 16, 2009), the Fourth Circuit concluded that the archiving of high school student term papers by a plagiarism detection service is protected by the fair use doctrine. Having so ruled, the appeals court did not address the district court’s analysis of the enforceability of the clickwrap agreements executed by the minor students when they submitted their papers to the service.  The district court ruling on the issue of enforceability is, therefore, left intact.

The district court opinion offers some other general points of interest with respect to clickwrap agreements.

Case law has developed over the years with respect to enforceability of Web site terms and conditions, and the general parameters are now pretty well understood. Courts will, in general, enforce online terms and conditions against consumer users, provided they are given adequate notice and an opportunity for review.

There are numerous exceptions to the general rule, however. Courts often refuse to enforce specific terms in Web site terms and conditions against consumers, particularly where those terms involve class action waivers, arbitration requirements, inconvenient forum choices, and like provisions.

The case of Burcham v. Expedia, involving a pro se attorney’s challenge to the enforceability of the Expedia travel site terms and conditions, is not one of those exceptions.