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Copyright for Students


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Sam Cheng
FAAD & Copyright Education

Course-Sharing Websites

Course Materials in 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, course materials are provided to students for their own educational or research use. Students should not share these materials 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

What are course-sharing websites? What do students need to know about them?

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 create. In fact, Course Hero is legally obligated to remove infringing material upon request of the rights holder, as required by US copyright law.