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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. 

Recording & broadcasting courses


Before recording and broadcasting a Stanford course (for example, for inclusion in iTunesU), faculty must obtain permission from a cognizant dean, or if the course is intended to be part of a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), permission must come from the Vice Provost of Teaching and Learning (see below). 

Before making any request, faculty should consider a number of issues, including intellectual property and privacy issues, and Stanford copyright and videotaping policies.  Certain classes may not be appropriate for public consumption.  A few example include classes which:

  • Rely on substantial in-class use and display of third-party copyrighted content
  • Involve discussion of identifiable patients or research subjects
  • Require substantial participation by students who may be made uncomfortable by the idea that their thoughts will be broadcast to the world

Students must have advance notice that a course will be recorded and broadcast; an area of the classroom should be set aside for students who wish to remain off-camera.  Faculty should also be available to answer student questions off-camera (e.g., during office hours).  There are several groups with which faculty may work to determine whether it makes sense broadcast a particular course or lecture, including Stanford’s Vice-Provost for Teaching & Learning, John Mitchell, and Lauren Schoenthaler in the legal office.

Faculty or staff interested in offering a public online course should register their interest well in advance of a potential launch date.  Faculty developing online courses will be asked to sign a Course Development Agreement (CDA) and should allow enough lead time to work out copyright, accessibility, and other issues.  Faculty creating MOOCs need to pay special attention to copyright concerns, as rights that you might have obtained to post material on CourseWork or other closed systems do not apply in the more open MOOC systems.  Similarly, the face-to-face teaching exemptions that allow you to use material in your classroom do not apply.  Refer to the VPTL's Guidelines for Public Courses for additional information.  


Students may not audio or video record lectures or classes without permission from the faculty leading the course (and guest speakers, when applicable).  When permission is granted, students may keep recordings only for personal use and may not post recordings on the Internet, or otherwise distribute them.  Students who need lectures recorded for disability-related reasons should contact the Office of Accessible Education.