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Access is the right to use, communicate, or approach something or someone. Some common usages of the term “access” in a legal sense include:  

  • In the context of copyright, the term “access” refers to the ability of a potential infringer to see or obtain the copyrighted material. Access is important in determining whether a potential infringer has in fact illicitly copied the copyrighted material. If the potential infringer has had no access to the copyrighted material, they can make a strong argument that they could not have copied the copyrighted material, and that any similarities between the allegedly infringing work and the copyrighted work are mere coincidences. However, access alone is insufficient to establish copyright infringement.
  • In the context of family law, the term “access” is used to describe visitation between the child and the non-custodial parent
  • In the context of real estate, the term “access” is the right and ability to go to and return from one’s own property

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]