While potentially helpful in protecting copyright in course materials, purely technological solutions are not addressed in this document.
a. Copyright notices and/or watermarks
Labelling materials as copyright-protected can serve as a useful reminder to users that they are not permitted to reproduce course materials without permission from the professor. This can take the form of a simple block of text at the start of a document, and/or a watermark applied to every page.
Le matériel que vous recevez pour ce cours est protégé par le droit d’auteur et ne devrait être utilisé que dans le cadre de ce même cours. Vous n’avez pas la permission de télécharger ce matériel de cours vers d’autres sites Web. Cela inclut tout enregistrement de cours que vous pourriez détenir. Si vous désirez des clarifications, veuillez s’il vous plaît consulter votre professeur.
© [Inscrire votre nom]. Tous droits réservés.
The materials you receive for this course are protected by copyright and to be used for this course only. You do not have permission to upload the course materials, including any lecture recordings you may have, to any website. If you require clarification, please consult your professor.
© [Insert name]. All rights reserved.
b. Communications with students and awareness building
Beyond simply reminding students of the existence of copyright in course materials, either directly or via a copyright notice/watermark, it can be helpful to provide more context as to the importance and potential impact of infringement.
A discussion with students, including an opportunity for them to ask any questions and obtain clarifications, can go a long way towards sensitizing them on the topic.
Key discussion points:
- Copyright (and intellectual property more broadly) is important as a mechanism for rewarding creators and ensuring their compensation, as well as their control over their work. Students themselves are copyright owners for many things they create, including their assignments, social media content, etc. Nobody enjoys it when their content is exploited without permission or compensation.
- Copyright infringement is a legal offence, which can lead to serious financial and reputational consequences.
- Uploading course materials to a content sharing website can, in many cases, be an instance of academic fraud as well as copyright infringement. This could lead to failure of a course, suspension, or even expulsion. Instances of academic fraud are also often included on a student’s transcript, and this will follow them for life.
- Should students need additional help or support with their courses, many legitimate resources are available at the University, such as the Student Academic Success Service, tutoring, and study groups.
c. Take-down requests
There may be instances in which professors discover that some of their course materials have already been uploaded to the Internet in the past. In such cases, the best approach is to request a takedown of the materials in question. Different sites have different procedures (some will have automated forms, while others require an email to be sent) but the vast majority of websites will respect a takedown request from the legitimate owner of the copyright to the materials in question.
Broadly, all that is needed in such a request is to specify exactly which content needs taking down, and to certify that the person making this request is in fact the owner of the copyright to the content. In general, the University is not legally entitled to make these requests as it is not the copyright owner (professors are), but the University’s Copyright Office remains available for questions or assistance.