Professors Claiming Copyright Over Their Lectures

from the educational-IP dept

It's always struck me that the strongest supporters of copyright law run into a lot of problems when it comes to educational institutions. After all, the whole purpose of an educational institution is to share knowledge and information as much as possible and continue to impart those ideas to others. But, it appears that copyright maximalism is seeping into the classrooms as well. In the last couple of years, we've seen a lawsuit over a note taking service -- claiming lectures are covered by copyright -- and a professor demanding that students destroy all their notes at the end of the year since the professor claims he holds the copyright.

Michael Scott points us to a similar story, involving a Harvard grad who is running a non-profit notetaking service. While there's no lawsuit or anything yet, there is a discussion on whether or not the professors' lectures are covered by copyright, with Harvard's General Counsel insisting that yes they are:
"under the federal Copyright Act of 1976, a lecture is automatically copyrighted as long as the professor prepared some tangible expression of the content--notes, an outline, a script, a video or audio recording."
In response, however, the copyright experts over at Copycense destroy that claim and lay down some knowledge (free of charge) for Harvard's AG:
Under the current Copyright Act, a work qualifies for protection only once it is original and then fixed in a way that people can perceive it (i.e. the "tangible medium of expression"). This is essentially what Section 102(a) says in basic terms.

The information from Harvard's counsel is incorrect because a lecture generally would not qualify for the "fixed" part of the equation. What Harvard seems to conflate is eligibility for copyright protection under Section 102(a) and the public performance right under Section 106(4).

But a professor can't have a public performance right under 106(4) if the work in question does not even qualify for copyright protection in the first place under Section 102(a). And a lecture, in and of itself, does not qualify as a protected work under the '76 Act because it is not fixed. (There also may be an argument against copyrightability based on originality grounds, but the lack of fixation is certain and terminal.)

The only way we can determine that a professor's lecture would qualify for copyright protection, assuming it was original, in the first place is if the lecture was recorded. Then there would be two copyrighted works: the lecture, and then the notes or slides. The professor's notes or slides arguably would qualify for copyright protection, but copyrightability in the notes is a separate issue from copyrightability in the lecture.


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  1.  
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    Scote, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    Well, and there is the whole issue of whether the creative work produced by an employee of a university in performance of his/her official duties is copyright by the professor or the university.

     

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    jjmsan (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    If you can copyright a lecture in such a way as to force students to destroy their notes, shouldn't producers of plays be able to use copyright to prevent critic reviews of their play? After all the critics notes are based on the preformance of the play.

     

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    Ben, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Copyrighability is a interesting word... Now to my comment

    If the two parts are separate, individual copyrights over the notes AND the lecture, are not the notes the copyright of the student? If so, how long before students sue each other for having the same notes? Copying notes off the guy in front of you could lead to massive University/College costs. So far it hasn't though because either the students havent realized this yet, or more likely, they aren't @$$holes.

     

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  4.  
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    Yohann, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Where did it all start?

    First off, professors can't really copyright what they say. If they don't want to be labeled hypocrits, they would have to acknowledge that the professors that taught them way back had copyrights on their own lectures, therefore anything learned might also be copyrighted. The professors today might actually be using sentences word-for-word from the very professors that taught them, and would therefore be infringing on those professors. And if those professors learned from lectures of their professors... so on and so forth.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Another thing to note is that, for public schools, professors often get paid with public tax dollars. Anything that's a product of or is funded by tax dollars should not be subject to intellectual property whatsoever.

     

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  6.  
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    Richard (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Work for Hire

    I'm surprised you said the Professor claimed copyright - he should look at his contract with his University. He will probably find that they claim copyright on everything he does that relates directly to teaching. (It is usually different if you write a textbook.)

    Telling students to destroy their notes goes well beyond copyright law (even if it did apply which it doesn't because of the fixation issue) since they are entitled to keep any legally made copies.

    I have heard a similar line being spun in relation to tour guides - i.e. that you can't record what they say because it is copyright - which is clearly nonsense as they don't read from a script.

     

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  7.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    "Anything that's a product of or is funded by tax dollars should not be subject to intellectual property whatsoever."

    HA! Try telling pharma companies that....

     

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  8.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:01am

    Notes

    Even if a lecture can be copyrighted, how can notes of said lecture be infringing? Would it not be an interpretation of the work? Or am I completely off and the CliffsNotes people and all the reviewers (thanks JJ) get all the necessary licensing?

    I would say that a notes-for-hire thing would not be infringing, but if someone wanted to, that wouldn't stop them.

     

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  9.  
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    Jesse, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Is it infringing to listen to a song and take notes/impressions on the song? Under this philosophy, reviews should be infringing.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    Where's the money?

    What profit incentive would a prof have for this anyway?

    I suspect that these intellectual elitists are deliberately withholding information in acts of pure prejudice. They should be investigated and stripped of tenure for putting personal and/or political ambitions ahead of teaching. Tenure is a disgraceful mockery of its original intent.

     

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  11.  
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    PRofessor Basher, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Idiot...

    If it IS copyright, then anyone making a copy would have to destroy the copy... but who can make you destroy YOUR OWN notes of a copyrighted work.

    If that were the case, you'd NEVER be able to do a research paper.

    "Sorry professor, I wrote the whole paper but had to destroy it because I used copyrighted researched material!"

     

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    A Professor, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Notes are most likely not infringement, unless they include verbatim transcriptions (or reproductions) of the slides. It is clearly infringement if someone just writes down whatever was on the screen and tries to sell that (just as it would be infringement if someone reproduced a text and tried to sell it).

    Honestly, the argument put forth on Techdirt is spurious (i.e., copyright is being abused! Look at the absurdity!!), when the issue that MOST professors are dealing with is the destruction of teachable moments. I teach at a university, and in my class, I use activities to highlight the content. I don't have a problem with students selling/distributing/sharing notes on the class, but I am vehemently opposed to my activities being reproduced and/or summarized by note-taking services. This is not because I'm "too lazy" to create new activities (mind you, the activities I use have been honed over time because they work well), but rather than I am concerned that a naive student will see the punchline of the activity before he/she encounters it in class, and thus doesn't learn anything from it (what? A professor wants a student to learn?!? Blasphemy!)

    The second issue (which isn't being discussed here at all) is that students often directly reproduce copyrighted works in the note-taking services. For example, they copy quizzes, tests, Harvard Cases, etc. word-for-word in the note-taking packet.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Who said you had to be intelligent to teach?

     

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  14.  
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    JB, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Note-Taking Service??

    Why don't the students get off their asses and get to class and take their own notes?

    Why do students treat classes as an obstacle on the way to a degree? They act like they don't want to LEARN, they just want to get the diploma as easily as possible.

     

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    Geekish, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:43am

    Oy. This is why copyright law makes my head spin. (Guess I'll never be lawyer material.)

    If it's legal for a student to take notes in the first place, then why would it be illegal to hire someone else to take them for you (especially if it's non-profit)? What about students who are deaf? Even if you can lip-read really well or have a signer, you'd still have to look away to actually write and would miss a lot! And if a dyslexic student makes an audio recording of a lecture to review later, is he setting himself up for a lawsuit? (Bootleg lectures!)

    Good lord. If I were an educator of some kind then I, at least, would be thrilled people are trying harder to learn from any lecture I gave.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: Note-Taking Service??

    And where did you go to school?

    There are a few classes in any degree that are -designed- to fail as many people as possible. Learning has nothing to do with more than a few classes.

     

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  17.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:47am

    Re:

    "Honestly, the argument put forth on Techdirt is spurious (i.e., copyright is being abused! Look at the absurdity!!), when the issue that MOST professors are dealing with is the destruction of teachable moments."

    But using copyright law to keep the surprise in your lesson plans is an abuse of copyright law. I'm sympathetic to your point, but instructors need to find a different way to accomplish their goal, not one that relies on the misapplied force (or threat of force) of law.

     

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  18.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    "If it's legal for a student to take notes in the first place, then why would it be illegal to hire someone else to take them for you (especially if it's non-profit)?"

    It's probably not. The professors mentioned are simply threatening their students with law, not actually following through with the lawsuits. (The lawsuit linked to in the story above is not from an instructor, but from a textbook company and it is not yet been ruled on.)

    As near as I can tell, no court has ruled on this yet, but the whole thing seems dubious to me.

     

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  19.  
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    Cleetus, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    What if the lecturer is working from notes?

    If the professor is working from notes on which she has copyright (work-for-hire/employment issues notwithstanding), would not that be a copyrightable performance, the notes taken during which might be derivative? What do people think?

    FYI: I am not in any way a copyright maximalist. Just taking this though experiment one step further.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 11:11am

    Re:

    I'm sorry, 'teachable moments?' And you're calling the logical explanation given here 'spurious.' I'm sorry, but you can't tell someone they can't write a summary of something you've said. That summary would be their interpretation, and since it is put down in a fixed medium, it /might/ qualify for copyright protection. Depending on if it is an interpretation or only fact.

     

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  21.  
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    Geekish, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re:

    "The lawsuit linked to in the story above is not from an instructor, but from a textbook company and it is not yet been ruled on."

    Thanks for the clarification. That it's a textbook put a very slightly different spin on things, as it's a more lasting resource (versus a lecture one must be present to take in). Still, it does seem dubious, as you say. As long as the note-taking service is not producing the work verbatim (or forgetting to cite full quotes), then it's not really overstepping any bounderies, in my opinion. Unless paraphrasing is now illegal as well? It would be awfully hard to write research papers if that became the case. ;-)

     

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  22.  
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    Bri (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re:

    Read the article for God sakes! This is strictly about notes on lectures, not the distribution of pre-written material, which includes handouts, quizzes, tests, etc. In fact, the article implies that the material you find so precious would actually be copyrighted!

    And btw, it's arrogant to assume that students will learn best by following your particular teaching style. Different people have different methods of learning. After all, this is why we have tests, to gauge the ability of students to absorb information.

     

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  23.  
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    Overcast (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 11:52am

    that students destroy all their notes at the end of the year since the professor claims he holds the copyright

    What if the student copyrights the notes?

    It seems to me, if in fact the prof wants this done, he should have to send DCMA takedown notices to all of them, for each lecture.

     

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  24.  
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    william (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    Hi Prof,

    I can see what you are getting at that the "spoilers" might ruin the experience of the class. However, I do have to agree with other commentators that this seems to be an abuse of copyright laws.

    As an obviously highly educated and learned person, do you believe that the copyright law, crafted by your forefathers, is intended to be used this way.

    Disregard the argument for "teaching moments" and "what's good for the student". Simply viewing this as a "applying a correct tool to solve a problem", do you truly and honestly believe that copyright law is applicable and intended to be used this way.

    Yes, you can use a saw to hammer a nail into a wood block. But really...

     

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  25.  
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    CJ, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Work for Hire

    "I'm surprised you said the Professor claimed copyright - he should look at his contract with his University. He will probably find that they claim copyright on everything he does that relates directly to teaching. (It is usually different if you write a textbook.):

    Ownership of teaching related material differs from university to university. At the University of Texas, for example, instructors retain copyright to their teaching-related material.

     

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  26.  
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    Spanky, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:26pm

    re

    I think you're wrong about the purpose of a university being the sharing of knowledge. That was the purpose at one time, but universities are now just another business.

     

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  27.  
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    iNtrigued (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Idiot...

    Damn, and all this time I was just telling them my dog ate it.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re:

    "teachable moments" as in "setting up a rhetorical response to a deliberately biased question. In most cases, I'll bet it has a lot less to do with the punch line than it does with the student targeted by it.

    Face it. Profs think they can read minds but they're usually no better than pedophiles hanging out near the unpoliced Indian Reservation. They are hunting prey.

    A better academic lesson would be for a student to belittle the prof who sets them up, RECORD that session and keep it for legal purposes. Copyright, my patootie!

     

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  29.  
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    NullOp, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Well, well....

    It finally looks like every schmuck and his brother is trying to cash in on the copyright scam. Greed, indeed, knows no boundaries...

     

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  30.  
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    A Professor, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

    Re: william

    Do I think the point of copyright is to create all of the walls that we have been seeing? Not at all. Frankly, I wouldn't read Techdirt as frequently as I do if I thought the system was fine. Frankly, I think the lawsuit posed above is inappropriate, as is the requirement that students destroy notes. You specific point is that this lawsuit (or threat of lawsuit) is inappropriate, and I agree.

    My point is that I (and numerous other professors) want our students to learn something, and we are concerned that *some* note-taking services can do things that hurt that experience. As I noted in my previous post, I don't have ANY problem with students sharing notes. To clarify beyond that, I'm not trying to make an argument that the activities should be shielded under copyright law (unless, again, it's something like a Harvard Case that already has clear copyright protection). What I wanted to post was that the concern that many professors have (and which my department has recently been dealing with, as well) is that we want to educate the students as best as we can, but we feel that *certain* practices used by note-taking services hinder that ability.

    To many of the respondents that criticize the whole academic system - you have my sympathies, as you seem to have had a bad experience in college. Just like "real world" jobs, some employees at Universities get burned-out, or are not properly trained to teach (at research institutions, most of the Professor's work responsibilities are related to research and service, with only a small portion of their work-week allocated to teaching students). Please do not generalize your specific experience to the entire population of professors.

     

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  31.  
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    iNtrigued (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Note-Taking Service??

    Allow me to share a few quotes from arguably the smartest man who ever lived.

    - "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school."

    - "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

    I think I've made my point.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: william

    And I thought profs were there to teach, not research. I know I wasn't paying anyone to research.

    Nuff said!

     

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  33.  
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    Stephen, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Note-Taking Service??

    Wait, what? What does this have to do with teachers enforcing copyright on their lectures?

    I think you've come here to bang a slightly different drum.

     

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  34.  
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    Valkor, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: What if the lecturer is working from notes?

    The notes are not derivative, they are descriptive. They also fit every idea of "fair use" that I ever heard of.

     

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  35.  
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    Christopher Schiller, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    U.S. Lectures are Catagorically Challenged

    In the United States, extemporaneous speaking is not among the categories of works that are eligible for copyright protection. (It is available in certain other countries, so this comment doesn't travel well.) If someone were to record the "performance" in some mechanical, accurate way- i.e. videotaping or audio, then they would not be infringing a non-existent U.S. copyright. They would be creating a unique copyrightable work. (Remember, performers have no inherent claim to the copyright of a work in which their performance is captured without arrangement to such.) And because the lecture does not contain music (again, assumption) then you are not violating anti-bootlegging statutes either.

    A lecture is no public performance of the preparation notes (if any) the professor made, at least not any lecture worth attending. The orations, gesticulations, reactions to questions and the like inherent in a professor's teaching are transformative enough to be able to establish its own copyright separate and distinct from its source works, if there is any potential for copyright of it.

    Even if there were a copyrightablility of the lecture, the personal interpretation, boiling down and particularization done in order to make note taking make sense to the student would easily put the activity within the realm of commentary and editorializing which would prepare the student for a fight to qualify for a fair use exception to the infringement.

    I don't know about you, but, I've never been able to take notes fast enough to get enough things down verbatim to have a need to worry about infringing. More I have a need to worry about being accurate and not missing important stuff. And now that I'm on the other side, I do not consider myself to be the "author" of the notes being taken in the lectures I give. I'm just glad some students are taking notes at all.

    And there can be no enforceable requirement for destruction of the notes until there is a proven, established case that 1) a copyright exists, and 2) it was infringed without a legitimate exception. And you can't take the case to court without first registering the copyright with the Copyright Office.

    And just what would you send? Pack up the professor in a box and ship him/her off to Washington? I think some students might find that enough incentive to keep taking notes.

     

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  36.  
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    william (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re: william

    Hi Prof,

    I am glad we agree that the legal threat as inappropriate.

    As a long time educator, I think you would have to agree with me that student do engage in many academic offenses such as plagiarism, cheating, etc. Note taking is really not that big of a problem compare to those. Heck, note-taking services aren't even an offense of any sort (yet).

    In my school life I have attended MANY classes which are basically a note taking session. All you do for the entire time is to take notes, endless notes. Some teacher uses slides. Some teacher hand write the notes each semester on projector sheets. The exams are basically a rehash of the notes to see how much you understand or remember from the notes. Not all educators are like that, but most are (from my experience). However, I do have to point out some subjects are more prone to this, because, well, you can’t really do “activities” for some of the more memorization heavy course.

    In light of this, and in the risk of saying, “Hey the educators are the problem!” I propose to you that

    1. If a class is passable by a student who just read notes and never attended one single class, is the instructor really necessary anymore?
    2. If #1 stands, is it the students who should be punished for using note-taking services, or is it the instructor who should be punished for making him/herself obsolete?
    3. If #1 stands, should we try to either legally (through copyright) or academically (through academic offense) try to limit the behavior, or should we embrace the change and consider perhaps there is another way?

    More then once in my life I have thought about if instructors are really necessary in a lot of classes. Many times I find that I learn much more in “labs”, which gives the hand-on exercise, than the “lectures” that I have to attend to listen to a Prof talk for 1 hours from their notes, and duplicate the notes on my paper. And if I have the notes, I really could just read about it, skip the lecture and complete my learning in labs, saving me 1 hour from my limited life.

    Please don’t take this as an attack to the profession of teaching as it’s not. In my opinion, it’s just that many lectures and notes are “forced” on because “that’s always been the way to do it.” Well, maybe there are better ways.

     

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  37.  
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    Jess Lookin, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Shouldn't Teachers Just Do Their Job ?

    Teachers are employees of a sort-of corporation, their university. They should be doing their job and stop trying to stupidly mess around with students... unless they want to NOT be employees and be contractors or consultants that supply independent content. The university should handle student rules.

     

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  38.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    Honestly, the argument put forth on Techdirt is spurious (i.e., copyright is being abused! Look at the absurdity!!)

    But it is being abused. And, I do think it's absurd. :)

    when the issue that MOST professors are dealing with is the destruction of teachable moments.

    Right, but as others have pointed out, the point of copyright law is most certainly not to preserve teachable moments.

    I teach at a university, and in my class, I use activities to highlight the content. I don't have a problem with students selling/distributing/sharing notes on the class, but I am vehemently opposed to my activities being reproduced and/or summarized by note-taking services. This is not because I'm "too lazy" to create new activities (mind you, the activities I use have been honed over time because they work well), but rather than I am concerned that a naive student will see the punchline of the activity before he/she encounters it in class, and thus doesn't learn anything from it (what? A professor wants a student to learn?!? Blasphemy!)

    No, not blasphemy. Definitely a good thing. But no excuse for abusing copyright laws to achieve that purpose.

    To be honest, isn't the real responsibility on the student? A student at a university should be there to learn. If they choose to skip ahead to the punchline, and miss out on the learning experience, isn't that their own responsibility (and loss)? I don't see it as an excuse to abuse copyright law.

     

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  39.  
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    Blamer .., Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    Re: copyright to prevent critic reviews

    No, criticism usually isn't covered by copyright due to something called "fair use".

     

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  40.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:26pm

    Re: What if the lecturer is working from notes?

    Even if it is a copyrightable performance, that still doesn't make note-taking a copyright violation.

    If I go to see a play, concert, movie, sporting event, or other public performance, I can certainly take notes of what I observed and distribute them in whatever manner, for pay or not, that I wish without violating copyright.

     

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  41.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 6th, 2009 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    "I am vehemently opposed to my activities being reproduced and/or summarized by note-taking services. This is not because I'm "too lazy" to create new activities (mind you, the activities I use have been honed over time because they work well), but rather than I am concerned that a naive student will see the punchline of the activity before he/she encounters it in class,"

    Oh for frak's sake. Copyright is supposed to encourage innovation, not preserve the punchline of your old jokes.

     

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  42.  
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    ..., Oct 6th, 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: copyright to prevent critic reviews

    and keeping your notes from a class, for which you paid lots of money, is not considered fair use ?

     

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  43.  
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    Humorless Democrat, Oct 6th, 2009 @ 6:32pm

    stoopid profs claiming copyright

    This isn't new. Back in the 60's a UCLA professor sued a notetaking service...and lost. Unless the lecture as delivered is a verbatim delivery of a speech that has been written down in its entirety beforehand, there's no copyright in the lecture, b/c it hasn't been fixed in a tangible medium UNTIL THE STUDENT TAKES THE NOTES. Furthermore, it's unlikely that the student's notes (or anyone else's notes) correspond exactly to what was said.

    Aside from assertions of copyright in the lectures being a crock of $hit, how the heck do profs expect to enforce these "rights"? Do they think that students don't share notes by email? How naive.

    Finally, I don't think there can be a stronger case made for implied license and/or fair use than students taking notes in a university setting. Taking, sharing and comparing notes is what millions of students have done and will continue to do. That's part of the university's educational mission. The university (and the prof, who's getting paid to teach) knows that, and the students know that. Taxpayers, in many cases, have subsidized the classes in the name of public good. And the students (or their parents) have paid big bucks for the opportunity to learn, which includes note taking and sharing. Furthermore, students are expected to take knowledge with them after they graduate. So at the very least, the lecturer and the university gave the students a license to take notes and to keep those notes in perpetuity. If profs want to make money off their lectures, they should go private and do it outside the university setting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Copycense, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Work for Hire

    On the work for hire issue, technically a professor's work should qualify as a "work made for hire" under Sections 101 and 201(b). But the long-held standard in American, non-profit colleges and universities has been to punt on this issue and cede ownership to the professors.

    This is done either in the employment contract (i.e. affirming that the professor retains his or her rights), University policy, or both. There is no legal doctrine that would support this position: instead, it is something for which the American Association of University Professors lobbied vigorously a long time ago, and the schools never challenged this.

    Note, however, that for-profit colleges and universities increasingly are taking an opposite stance: those institutions tend to claim copyright ownership in the intellectual work under the work made for hire doctrine.

    As always, educators must read the fine print, as positions and mileage may vary.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    robbo1337, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 8:25am

    Professors Claiming Copyright Over Their Lectures

    As a lecturer in a UK based HE institution, I regularly make shortened versions of my lecture material available to students in the guise of presentation slides and/or handouts. Frequently, students repeat content from these resources in assessment work. I wouldn't want to change that because they are resources that are meant to help the students get familiar with what can be difficult concepts and ideas.

    I've frequently wondered about the copyright implications of this type of use (the UK doesn't quite have the same generous 'fair-use' defense that the US has). Funding for most UK university courses comes from the tax-payer (HEFCE), not the student fees that make up about one third of the total cost

    To help students get their heads around this complex issue I often release Creative Commons-licensed versions of this material, unsure still if that license actually means anything...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Note-Taking Service??

    """
    Why don't the students get off their asses and get to class and take their own notes?
    """

    Well, a simple scenario is scheduling hassles. Some classes only have a very few scheduling 'slots', so if you really want to take two classes that have an overlap, I can see a note-taking service being very valuable.

    Anyway, the concept of a teacher or professor having a copyright on their teaching material is assinine. It is unfortunate that they are unhappy with what some are doing with their materials, but you know what? Too damn bad. That doesn't mean you pull out a stupid law and try to shoehorn it into a situation to wrest back control that you never really had or needed in the first place.

    Just as an aside, I've never heard of a professor flipping out about students bringing in tape recorders, wouldn't that be infringing too?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), Oct 7th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re:

    Actually, amusingly, I believe (from my admitted limited understanding of the laws involved) that each student *does* have an automatic copyright on his/her notes, assuming they are not taken word for word from a textbook. Can someone with more experience speak to this? Is that not how it works?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    A Professor, Oct 7th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: william

    Honestly, I agree with your three points. I believe that many classes are not set up to actually provide value to the students beyond what is contained in a textbook. Some universities broadcast classes over the television; some stream over the internet; other are the traditional "lecture" class, with 1,000 students. In all of those situations, it is a teacher talking "at" the students, rather than providing incremental value.

    Many schools have been trying to embrace "new media" through the use of blogs, podcasts, message boards, etc. Over the next decade, there will be a major transformation in how knowledge is transferred from educator to student - and I think that's a great thing. Again, as I noted in my last post, just as there are people in "traditional" jobs that resist change, there are people in education that resist change. Yet, many professors want to change the system.

    My frank opinion is that most of the problems I encounter in the classroom stem from students' resistance to "different" ways of being taught -- and this resistance most likely stems to their comfort with the lecture-based, multiple-choice test, memorization and recitation system given that this is primarily what they have encountered since they were in 3rd grade. The US government has made all of this worse due to systems like the "No Child Left Behind" program that incentivize teachers to teach to a test, rather than foster creativity.

    But to get back to your comments (and to try to wrap this all the way back to the topic at hand), I just hope that people understand that the reactions from professors (such as the one that spurred the original article), although wrong, often stem from a belief that the practice at hand is detrimental to the student. The solution is not to sue anyone and everyone (that's more a cultural issue than anything) or require students to burn their notes, but to figure out how to get what they want (students learning something) in a creative way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    RickMan, Oct 9th, 2009 @ 10:56am

    Class Notes

    The professor cannot truly expect that he can force a student to destroy his notes at the end of the year. I believe that the student owns the notes:
    1. The student paid to be in the class, even if the student is there under scholorship, the student paid to be able to take notes
    2. Unless the student was able to write down every word and express the meaning the way the professor or lecturer spoke this copyrighted lecture, it appears to me to be a derivative work, so it belongs to the student under fair use.

    There are many other problems I have but the one marked as number 1 seems to be like the professor selling me a book for the class and then being able to take my property away from me.

    Totally rediculous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2011 @ 8:35am

    Recordings of lectures and works derived from recorded lectures are covered by copyright law. The example of recorded lectures is even listed under "Copyright Basics" at http://www.copyright.gov

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Kruttika, Dec 5th, 2012 @ 11:39pm

    Even if the lecture is unpublished or extemporaneous it could still be protected by common law copyright and notes made by students could be infringing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    True DAT!, Nov 11th, 2013 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Where did it all start?

    Very Much Agreed. SCREW LAWYERS!!! (and Professors)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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