Who owns the copyright on my uploaded course materials (including video recordings of lectures)?

Faculty and Instructors of Record (and other Designated Instructional Appointees) own the copyrights in the course materials they create, unless the faculty member/instructor used exceptional University resources to create course materials (which would generally only be done under a specific, signed agreement). Use of Zoom Pro, or other licensed software available to all Berkeley faculty, is not considered an exceptional University resource. That means that only the faculty member/instructor, and anyone to whom the faculty member/instructor has granted permission, may reproduce, distribute or display (post/upload) course materials.

There are a few very specific exceptions: students may share course materials with other students in the course, and with DSP. For more details, see the UC 2003 Policy on Ownership of Course Materials and Copyright in the classroom.

How can I best protect my copyrighted course materials?

1. Post your materials only on UC Berkeley supported platforms that are password-protected and accessible only to registered and enrolled students that include:

This will also protect the privacy of the students in your lectures.

2. Advise students that your course materials and your course presentations are protected and that students may not share them except as provided by U.S. copyright law and University policy.  You can share this information with students in your first class meeting, on your course website and in your syllabus. You might use this language:


My lectures and course materials, including powerpoint presentations, tests, outlines, and similar materials, are protected by U.S. copyright law and by University policy. I am the exclusive owner of the copyright in those materials I create. You may take notes and make copies of course materials for your own use.  You may also share those materials with another student who is registered and enrolled in this course, and with DSP.


You may not reproduce, distribute or display (post/upload) lecture notes or recordings or course materials in any other way — whether or not a fee is charged — without my express written consent. You also may not allow others to do so.


If you do so, you may be subject to student conduct proceedings under the Berkeley Code of Student Conduct, including Sections 102.23 and 102.25.


Similarly, you own the copyright in your original papers and exam essays. If I am interested in posting your answers or papers on the course web site, I will ask for your written permission.


3. Include language on your course materials (in a header or footer, on PDFs and in Canvas) that they are protected by copyright: “© Faculty Name 2020”.


4. If you are concerned about students posting materials to CourseHero, know that CourseHero has advised UC counsel that its filtering tool will, in nearly all instances, prevent the upload of materials that include this sentence in a header or footer:


“This content is protected and may not be shared, uploaded or distributed.”


5. If you find that your material has been uploaded to CourseHero, assert your copyrights by sending a DMC takedown notice using the CourseHero takedown portal at: https://www.coursehero.com/copyright-infringement/ 


Once a valid takedown notice is submitted (which is why you should use the portal), CourseHero has a duty to act “expeditiously” – usually 2-3 days. Please note that other similar websites have not made this explicit commitment, but we do still recommend adding such header or footer to your uploaded content if you are concerned about asserting your copyrights.

Please note that this guidance document may not address your particular question or situation, and it does not modify or supersede existing policy. If you have specific questions, please contact campus counsel. More details can be found on UCOP’s Shifting to online instruction.

Some of the above is adapted from materials released by UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, and “Rapidly shifting your course from in-person to online” by Nancy Sims @CopyrightLibn, University of Minnesota Libraries, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.