Course materials such as lecture notes, exam questions and any other written material distributed in class are copyright protected. While copyright protection is not a panacea, it is a legal concept that most individuals understand. Additionally, it is a type of intellectual property law that supports getting course materials taken down from the internet when discovered. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Make sure your syllabus contains a statement that all course materials are copyright protected and may not be shared, uploaded, sold or distributed outside of the class.
- According to ACD 304-10, consider placing on your course materials, and online equivalents, the following statement: “This content is protected and may not be shared, uploaded, sold or distributed.”
- Talk openly to students about sites like Coursehero and Chegg and let them know that copyright protection includes students not putting course material on these sites.
- Copyright protection is not just on a per-document basis, it can extend to individual questions on an exam or assignment.
- Keep in mind that student work products that contain exclusively their own work are owned by the student and they may post them (after the assignment due date) as they wish.
- Many websites have locations where you can submit a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown request. Two of the most common websites are Coursehero and Chegg.
As always, there are unique situations and nuances so for more information check out the Fulton Schools Academic Integrity Office webpage faculty tab.