The Student Room Group

Not allowed to download from Westlaw

Wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the technology help forum so sorry if it's in the wrong one.

I'm a law student and my uni uses the database Westlaw to access the cases. I usually download them to read because I just find it far easier to read them in pdf form as it reads more like a book whereas if you just click on them on the website its like one big wall of text and it doesn't tell you how many pages there are/what page you're on. I can't really explain it but I just find the pdfs far easier to read.

But today uni sent out an email that Westlaw have notified them that someone has been mass downloading the documents and that it violates copyright so they will revoke our access if it continues. I'm pretty sure it's me but I'm not sure because the email was addressed to everyone. But up until today I had never been told that we weren't allowed to download the documents and I just find it way easier to read them that way, and I don't do anything that would violate copyright, I just delete them after I've read it.

Is there any way I could view the documents as a pdf without downloading them? and how would I view Westlaw's policy on how many documents we're allowed to download to know if it actually was me that was "mass downloading" them or not?
Viewing them as a PDF is downloading them by definition as you're saving the item into a specific file type in your local directory. That is not specific to Westlaw but any kind of academic database - if you are opening it as a PDF on your PC, you have downloaded it from their database.

If you have accessibility requirements that necessitate a different format you should discuss this with the relevant team at the uni and they can see what reasonable adjustments can be put in place. Otherwise I think you will just need to access them on the platform directly which seems to be the intended outcome.

Of course it's most likely that it was not you or at least just you that caused this notification from the company but even so, the above applies.
(edited 5 months ago)
Hey I also got this email today ( I guess we are at the same uni) and I am worried it is me. I think the key word is 'mass download'. I download most cases but I feel that a 'mass download' would be much more extreme i.e. downloading entire law journals. I think I will message the department to find out.

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