Intellectual Property and Copyright FAQ's
What resources can I share with my students?
If your students are completing assignments where they integrate third party material, such as videos and pictures, consider sharing and discussing the following resource by Copyright@Waterloo: Copyright Basics: Using Third Party Material in Assignments. This resource reviews finding legal sources, copyright exceptions, open materials, crediting sources, and contact information for questions.
Students often upload and share course materials without your permission. To deter this, it is important to specify what is and is not allowed to be shared outside of the classrooms. Consider sharing and discussing the following resource by Copyright@Waterloo: Copyright Basics for Academic Integrity: Using Course Resources. This resource reviews policies and rules on sharing course materials, and contact information for support.
How can I find if my materials have been posted online?
Using Google, do a search of your course and scroll through the results. Materials are often posted on popular note-sharing and answer sharing platforms. Common searches that will bring up results include variations of the following:
- Your course code (e.g., ARTS 101, University of Waterloo )
- Your course name and term (e.g., ARTS 101, Spring 2021, University of Waterloo)
- Your course name and a specific assessment (e.g., ARTS 101 research assignment, University of Waterloo)
How do I get my materials taken down from note-sharing platforms?
Detailed instructions for the removal process are listed on each note-sharing site. Most note-sharing platforms have a similar process for submitting copyright violation claims. Typically, the intellectual property owner must be the one who submits the claim. The claim usually involves identifying the URL of the content in violation and providing your contact information.
Instructors can contact Legal and Immigration Services with questions about submitting copyright violation claims.
Are there any other tips to deter students from sharing my course resources?
To encourage students to avoid IP violations (e.g., students posting course materials or intellectual property on note-sharing platforms), have a conversation with your students about what can and cannot be shared beyond the classroom for each assessment. Clearly indicate that students need your explicit permission before sharing any course materials or intellectual property. Encourage them to alert you if they see any course materials online.
Instructors can use the suggested boilerplate text below for course outlines
(Note: this text may be edited to suit individual needs – for assistance please contact the Secretariat & Office of General Counsel):
Students should be aware that this course contains the intellectual property of their instructor, TA, and/or the University of Waterloo.
Intellectual property includes items such as:
Lecture content, spoken and written (and any audio/video recording thereof);
Lecture handouts, presentations, and other materials prepared for the course (e.g., PowerPoint slides);
Questions or solution sets from various types of assessments (e.g., assignments, quizzes, tests, final exams); and
Work protected by copyright (e.g., any work authored by the instructor or TA or used by the instructor or TA with permission of the copyright owner).
Course materials and the intellectual property contained therein, are used to enhance a student’s educational experience. However, sharing this intellectual property without the intellectual property owner’s permission is a violation of intellectual property rights. For this reason, it is necessary to ask the instructor, TA and/or the University of Waterloo for permission before uploading and sharing the intellectual property of others online (e.g., to an online repository).
Permission from an instructor, TA or the University is also necessary before sharing the intellectual property of others from completed courses with students taking the same/similar courses in subsequent terms/years. In many cases, instructors might be happy to allow distribution of certain materials. However, doing so without expressed permission is considered a violation of intellectual property rights.
Please alert the instructor if you become aware of intellectual property belonging to others (past or present) circulating, either through the student body or online. The intellectual property rights owner deserves to know (and may have already given their consent).
Copyright at Waterloo
The Copyright at Waterloo website provides instructors and TA’s with copyright related support and advice, including:
- Copyright frequently ask questions for information about the Canadian Copyright Act and how it affects your work within the University
- Copyright & Licensing guide provides in-depth information about copyright and licensing
- Legal and Immigration Services can provide legal guidance
- Open Access guide for help finding, using and creating open access materials
- Creative Commons guide to understand what CC licenses are, and how and when to use them
- Waterloo Commercialization Office can help campus community members commercialize their copyright
If you have questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A resource full of tips on how instructors can prevent plagiarism has been developed by Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). The document can be accessed here.
Academic Integrity in the Creative Arts guide developed by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) in Australia. TEQSA also has many other academic integrity resources available here.