Intellectual Property and Copyright

It is important for instructors to be aware that their intellectual property (IP), such as lectures, assignments, and tests, are likely being shared beyond the classroom (e.g., in note-sharing platforms or other online repositories). 

How do I get my IP 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 tips to encourage students to avoid sharing IP?

To encourage students to avoid IP violations (e.g., students posting course materials or IP 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 IP. Encourage them to alert you to any IP violations related to your course. 

Instructors can also 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):

Intellectual Property

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).