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Copyright Services Guide: Course-Sharing Websites

The Copyright Services Guide provides information and suggests resources and services that can help faculty, staff and students with copyright compliance at Sheridan.

Course Materials & SLATE

Professors provide materials such as lecture slides, assignments and journal articles to help students learn in their courses. Often times, these materials are posted to SLATE. They are protected by copyright so your uses of them have to comply with the copyright law and Sheridan policies. 

Generally, these materials are provided to students for their own educational or research use. Students should not share them with other people or on the Internet without their professor's permission.

On the other hand, if you take your own lecture notes (not verbatim or word-for-word of what your professor said), you own copyright to your notes and can share them with other students. However, you should not share your exam answers or completed assignments that can help other students to cheat, as per Sheridan's Academic Integrity Policy

"Copyright and Course Hero" created by Sheridan Library & Learning Services

Implications of Course-Sharing Websites

There are commercial course-sharing websites such as Course Hero and OneClass where students can access content for studying. In most cases, students are asked to either share their materials or pay a subscription in order to access other people's content. In some cases, students can earn credits toward gift cards by uploading materials.

There are problems associated with using these websites when students are:

  • Posting copyrighted materials provided by their professors for a commercial gain, which is a copyright infringement in most cases
  • Sharing exams or materials that can help other students cheat, which is a violation of Sheridan's Academic Integrity Policy

Course Hero’s Terms of Use state that users may only upload content that they have the rights to copy and share. This means that students should only be sharing their own notes or works they created. In fact, Course Hero is legally obligated to remove infringing material upon request of the rights holder, as required by US copyright law.