Instructors are finding that their teaching materials such as lecture slides, lecture notes, course outlines, assignments and quizzes are being posted to commercial tutoring websites such as Course Hero, Chegg, StuDocu and others. These sites encourage students to post materials for others to study from. While students are only supposed to post material that they have created or which they have permission to share, in some cases students post an instructor's material without permission; this is copyright infringement.
Generally, SFU instructors own the copyright in their teaching materials (per SFU Policy R30.03 Intellectual Property Policy), and students must not post these materials online without the instructor's permission. However, students own the copyright in notes they take during class, their own assignments and all other course work they create and they are free to share these materials.
You can only submit a takedown request for material that you created.
Takedown request service
The Copyright Office can assist you in contacting these websites to request that your material be removed. Use this form to request this service. You will be asked to provide information including the course(s) the material relates to and the website(s) where you have found your material posted.
The Copyright Office will submit a takedown request to the site(s) on your behalf, and notify you when the material has been removed.
Take steps to prevent your work from being uploaded to these sites:
- Inform students of your rights and their responsibilities with the Sample copyright statement for your course syllabus.
- Include a copyright statement on your slides, assignments and other teaching materials, especially if you are posting them in Canvas or distributing them to students.
- This can be as simple as "© YYYY Instructor Name. This content may not be shared, uploaded or distributed." Include this statement in the header or footer so it appears on every page, or at the bottom of every slide.
- You can also use a more detailed statement such as "© YYYY Instructor Name. These course materials are designed for use in [course name and number] at Simon Fraser University and are the intellectual property of the instructor unless otherwise stated. Except as permitted by Canada's Copyright Act, you may not distribute this work outside this course without the instructor's permission." This longer statement only needs to be included on the first page or slide.
- Use either of these two options in Canvas to reduce access to course content:
- "Lock down" the course by setting a course end date to block student access after the course has ended (see this page from IT Services for information and support).
- Unpublish individual files after the course has ended so they are no longer available to students.
For questions about the takedown servce or any aspects of copyright, contact the Copyright Office at email@example.com.
For further assistance with academic integrity issues, including case consultations, guidance on policy and procedure, class presentations and workshops, contact Arlette Stewart, Academic Integrity Coordinator.