You are here

Copyright Reminder

Copyright and intellectual property issues are a part of the fabric of research and scholarly communications, and thus all Stanford faculty, students and staff need a working understanding of copyright law as it impacts their daily lives.  The Copyright Reminder, which highlights common campus copyright concerns and outlines fundamental elements of US copyright law, is distributed annually to ensure that the Stanford community remains aware of those issues. 

Social media and web tools in teaching

Collaboration tools can enhance the learning environment, but it is important to ensure that any tool used in teaching is compliant with FERPA, the Federal law governing the management of student records.  These tools can also raise concerns related to web security, content ownership, and confidentiality.

Because of these risks, social media tools should be vetted and hosted by Stanford whenever possible, to reduce concerns regarding content ownership, confidentiality of student information, and web security.  Third-party tools and websites may be appropriate if no comparable Stanford tool exists, but be aware that many service providers require users to sign up for an account and agree to terms of use in exchange for use of the services. Faculty should review terms of use and pay attention to:

  • Content ownership concerns (e.g., are students required to give away or license their copyright interests in student-generated content to the service?)
  • Privacy concerns (e.g., can students control the distribution of their own student-generated content?)
  • Use of the content for non-Stanford purposes (e.g., will the service provider keep a copy of the student-generated content for data-mining or other non-Stanford related purposes?)

Faculty should notify students in the syllabus when third-party tools will be used in a course, and should alert students to the terms of use. Faculty should also work with students who are not comfortable signing on to particular third-party terms of use--including, where possible, enabling a student to participate in the course without relying on the third-party tools. For more information, see this FAQ on Stanford's Secure Computing page: