FAQ: Copyrighted Course Materials

By Matt Borlik

Wharton Computing’s IDEA Courseware Team has implemented a new policy regarding the digital distribution of copyright-protected reading materials on Canvas. All copyrighted reading materials must be distributed through either Lippincott Library’s Course Reserve system, a Study.Net-issued course pack, or–in rare instances–a publisher-specific resource. Copyrighted materials may not be directly uploaded to the “Files” section of Canvas–regardless of authorship, informal arrangements, or fair-use claims.


copyright logoQ: Why was this new policy implemented?

A: According to a recent student-satisfaction survey, two of the main issues raised by students regarding Canvas were 1) the rising costs of reading materials and 2) the inconsistency with which reading materials were posted to various tabs on Canvas. This policy will make more reading materials available to students for free while ensuring that all externally-copyrighted readings are posted only to one of these two appropriate locations within a course Canvas site: the “Course Materials @ Penn Libraries” tab or the “Study.Net Materials” tab. This policy will also ensure that all copyrighted materials posted to Canvas are in compliance with the university’s digital licensing and distribution agreements.


Q: How should I submit my course-content request?

A: Your course-content request can be submitted as part of your overall Canvas Site request. Once your request has been received, the Course Content team will determine the most appropriate Canvas channel by which to digitally distribute your copyrighted materials. The Course Content team will contact you with any questions regarding your reading materials.


Q: How do you determine whether my copyrighted reading materials will be distributed through Lippincott’s Course Reserves system or a Study.Net course pack?

A: Many copyrighted materials–including articles from newspapers, magazines, and academic journals (as well as a limited selection of textbook chapters)–are available to students through Lippincott Library. Any materials that cannot be obtained through Lippincott–including most textbook chapters, cases, simulations, and Harvard-issued materials–must be obtained through Study.Net.


Q: Will I be notified once my copyrighted reading materials have been posted to Canvas?

A: Yes. A member of the Course Content team and/or Lippincott’s Library Reserves Team will notify you once all of the readings obtained through Lippincott have been posted to Canvas. A member of the Course Content team will send a proof of the Study.Net course pack to you once it has been assembled; the course pack will be posted to Canvas after you have approved the proof.


Q: Where can my students find my copyrighted reading materials once they’ve been posted to Canvas?

A: Any reading materials obtained through Lippincott will be posted under the “Course Materials @ Penn Libraries” tab on Canvas as either a link or downloadable PDF. Reading materials obtained through Study.Net will be posted under the “Study.Net Materials” tab on Canvas as a downloadable PDF.


Q: Will my students have to pay for these copyrighted materials?

A: Reading materials obtained through Lippincott are free for all students. Reading materials obtained through Study.Net are free for Doctoral, MBA, WEMBA, and Executive Education participants; undergraduate students must pay for Study.Net course packs before they can access the reading materials. Any student who wishes to have a hard copy of their Study.Net course pack printed must pay for the associated costs.


Q: Won’t posting my copyrighted reading materials under two separate tabs create confusion for my students?

A: In order to alleviate any confusion, we suggest that you clearly indicate on your syllabus where each reading can be found. In the past, many professors have found it helpful to add tags–such as “CM@PL” and “SN”–after the title of each reading listed on their syllabus.


If you have additional questions about copyright-protected readings, please email the Course Content team at courseware@wharton.upenn.edu.