Copyright Protected Materials

Computing Science Policy on Copyright Protected Material

Version 1.1 (not yet approved by Dept. Council) 2011-Jan-05
H. James Hoover, Associate Chair (Ugrad)

I believe that the following policy will ensure compliance with the new regime for handling copyright material.

The key issue is that you cannot publish copyright material without permission. So when you publish (for example, handout or post to a web site) your lecture notes, you must ensure that you have the right to reproduce all the components of your notes. What you are allowed to do during lecture is different from what you are allowed to do with your lecture notes. See the associated documents from the University of Alberta copyright site.

Part of the new regime is will be to manage expectations in your course syllabus. Here is an example from Walter Bischoff's outline:

Lecture Notes

The new copyright regulations of the University of Alberta (that come into effect on January 1, 2011) prohibit me from publishing my complete lecture notes on the course website. You will have to learn to take notes again.

Other Course Materials

This course does not have a required textbook. There are a number of excellent resources for this course, available as books you can buy from a variety of suppliers, or available through open access on the web. I will provide pointers to such resources on the Resources page.

To comply with the rules, there are three levels of copyright access that we need to implement.

1. Open Access

This is any material that allows unrestricted access (for some value of unrestricted). Note that the producer of a copyrightable artifact automatically holds the copyright to that artifact. What they choose to do with it is the issue. So on anything that you produce, you should say

Copyright Year, Your Name.
Permission is granted for unrestricted educational use.*

*or whatever permission you want to grant. Faculty members own their copyright, it is not automatically transferred to the University as is the case for some other institutions.

Open access material can be placed in Moodle, where it will be automatically archived and kept for future generations. Since Moodle cannot, at present, properly control access to the files area, you must assume that all things in Moodle must be of open access status.

Important: Putting only open access material on Moodle also ensures that guest access to courses can be simply enabled without having to worry about copyright issues. This is in line with our policy of having courses open for guest access as much as possible.

You can, of course, put references to anything that you want in your documents, since following the reference to its destination then becomes the reader's problem. You can also publish a version of your notes where the appropriate material is redacted (for example, replacing a figure with a blank region). You can put links to open access artifacts in your own documents.

2. University Collection Access

This refers to material that members of the U of A community have access to by virtue of being faculty, students, and staff. Typically this is by following some link that passes through the library system. You must not in general be caching a copy of the artifact on your course site. Instead you provide a link to the artifact in your document. Then that link can be followed only by viewers with the correct authorization, and access to the artifact becomes "somebody else's problem".

3. Course Restricted Access via Secure Docs

The final level of access is for material that has restrictions that limit access only to students taking a course. For example, publishers often allow students to use certain resources related to a textbook while they are taking the course. When instructors are teaching the course they have access to the support material for the text. In certain project courses involving outside partners, only students taking the course will have access to proprietary information, and they may even be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

If you need controlled access to a document for a small group of people, then the U of A GoogleDocs facility works fine. But this is not practical for a large class, or a large collection of artifacts. Also, it is not easy for us to archive the contents of a course at the end of the term.

We have established a secure document server that will enable you to achieve content access control on a per-student, per-course basis. Course instructors can publish documents on the associated course accounts (that is the ones on the ugrad network with ids like: c174, c201, etc.) that will allow only students registered in the course, TAs and other instructor-specified guests to view those documents. The idea is to use this service only for situations where we need to exercise control over access to content. Other content is kept in Moodle.

Secure Docs

Update to SecureDocs use in Computing Science

The SecureDocs services are currently being phased out in Computing Science replaced by using Google Groups and Google Drive. If you are needing services such as those previously offered by SecureDocs, please contact IST or visit the CS Helpdesk in CSC 1-32 for assistance.