Getting third party websites to remove your course materials
PSU Faculty often contact the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright and/or the General Counsel’s Office for assistance in getting course materials removed from online sites. Of note:
- PSU cannot make the request on your behalf, if you own the material: Unless the course is for World Campus, created pursuant to a written agreement between the faculty/staff member or the unit, or if the work is considered University-directed by the standing policy of the unit, the faculty member owns the copyright in instructional IP. (See IP01 and IP03 for further clarification)
- Students have the right to take and share non-infringing notes: Further, “A registered student lawfully may take original hand written or typed notes during an oral lecture presentation and may sell those notes in the free marketplace. The notes may be subject to copyright protection, provided the notes represent an original work of authorship, but any such copyright would not impact in any manner on the faculty member’s ownership of the subject matter presented orally, nor the hard copy materials presented and/or distributed during the lecture.” (AD40)
You may want to check with your chair to confirm that it’s the policy of your unit that you own the rights in a particular set of instructional materials or courseware before taking action.
Many faculty members allow the sharing of their instructional materials as OER, but wish to prohibit the sharing of assessment materials, including rubrics, quizzes, tests, etc. Faculty members may want to remind students that they do not have permission to post prohibited materials on course-sharing or other websites.
Sites where course materials are often shared
Course Hero http://www.coursehero.com/
Rock My Midterm http://rockmymt.com/
HOW TO REQUEST THE REMOVAL OF INFRINGING MATERIAL
To have materials removed from a web site under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the copyright owner or agent must write to the infringing site’s DMCA agent and/or Internet Service Provider (ISP) and file a valid takedown request. The notice must include the information specified in 17 U.S.C. 512(c).
Consequences Of Filing A False DMCA Takedown Request
Do remember that DMCA notices should not be sent for content to which you do not own the copyright, including non-infringing student notes.
- Criminal sanctions may apply to senders of false DMCA takedown requests because the requests are sent under the penalty of perjury.
- Monetary sanctions may apply to senders of DMCA takedown requests where no copyright infringement is found, including where a fair use of material has been made.
Sample DMCA Takedown Notice
Here’s a sample [Also downloadable as a Word Document]
[Insert name, address, and email of DMCA Agent for Infringing Entity]
As of August 2017, the DMCA Agent for Course Hero is:
Course Hero, Inc.
1400B Seaport Blvd.
Redwood City, CA 94063
RE: NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT
Dear [Insert Name of Registered Agent (i.e., Mr. Park)]:
It has recently come to my attention that [Company Name and URL (i.e., Course Hero (www.coursehero.com)], in violation of U.S. copyright laws, reproduces, displays, distributes, and hosts my copyrighted works without my authorization. This communication serves as official notice of copyright infringement pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (”DMCA) 17 U.S.C. § 512(c). I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that my rights, as the exclusive rights holder, are being infringed.
I am the owner and exclusive rights holder of the following copyrighted material(s) that is(are) posted without authorization on your website.
Option 1: When one URL covers multiple copyrighted works, you may provide that single URL and identify representative documents. Use the following sentence:
“Given that there are multiple infringements of my copyrighted works at a single URL on your site, I am required to provide only a representative list of the infringed works (§ 512(c) (3) (A) (ii), (iii)): [Insert URL and then a list of the titles of representative documents]”
To avoid a back-and-forth with the copyright infringer, we suggest listing ALL documents, if possible.
Option 2: If the copyrighted material are at separate URLs, you need to provide the URL for each individual document that is infringed. Use this sentence: “The infringed works are located at the following URLs (§ 512(c) (3) (A) (ii), (iii)): [Insert URL and list of the infringed titles; Insert URL and list of infringed titles description; repeat until all URLs and titles are provided.]”
I confirm that the information in this notification is both true and accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that I am the owner of the copyrighted material identified above.
Please be advised that upon receipt of this notice, you, as the designated agent of [Insert Company Name (i.e., Course Hero, Inc.], must respond expeditiously to remove or disable access to the materials identified above as being the subject of infringement. Please provide me, within seven (7) days of this notification, written assurance that [Insert Company Name (i.e., Course Hero, Inc.] will comply with my request. Should you wish to discuss this matter with me, please contact me directly at the following address/email.
The Pennsylvania State University
[Your Office Mailing Address]
University Park, PA 16802
I look forward to your prompt attention to this matter.
[Insert electronic signature]( i.e., /Name/”)