Thursday, December 1, 2011

Copyright and Course Materials

Here’s a story  that might be of interest to campus bookstores especially as custom coursepacks become more commonplace and as faculty incorporate more of their original materials into these coursepacks. 
The story talks about how distribution of course notes, lecture recordings, and exam copies has become an emergent commercial enterprise by brick and mortar and online entities.  

As this happens more often, many professors are concerned that their unique and creative work product, such as stylized lecture slides, detailed course materials, and syllabi, are being made accessible without their knowledge or permission.   To help counter the problem, universities have adopted policies prohibiting students from sharing course materials. 

For example, University of Virginia has recently implemented a policy related to recording of classroom lectures and distribution of course materials by students.  This policy states that recordings, course materials, and lecture notes may not be exchanged or distributed for commercial purposes, for compensation, or for any other purpose other than study by students enrolled in the class. Public distribution of such materials may constitute copyright infringement in violation of federal or state law, or University policy. Violation of this policy may subject a student to disciplinary action under the University’s Standards of Conduct. 

Other schools like Cornell have devised informational sites for faculty to assist them in locating infringing downloads and requesting take-down.  Cornell website lists these websites that are known to redistribute course materials.

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