Are you concerned about someone stealing your syllabus or other class materials off the internet? This is not something I'd given much thought to until I read "When a Syllabus Is Not Your Own," a blog on the Chronicle of Higher Education site. Author Jennifer Sinor recounts her discomfort at discovering her syllabus, slightly redacted, put to use for another professor at a different institution. It had been lifted off the internet and customized by the new user.
I understand Sinor's unease, but I always assume anything I put on the internet is available for others to use. The whole point is that we are sharing information. Nevertheless, I can see how some teachers might want to preserve the authorial integrity of their work. Academhack provides an excellent suggestion:
What about syllabus stealing you ask? Here’s your solution: publish all your syllabi on the web, give them a creative commons license. Now another faculty can use as he/she sees fit, but only if they give you credit . . . problem solved.
Obtain a creative commons license for your syllabus, or your entire website, if you like. You may choose how your work is used, and the level of attribution:
- Attribution. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work — and derivative works based upon it — but only if they give credit the way you request.
- Noncommercial. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform your work — and derivative works based upon it — but for noncommercial purposes only.
- No Derivative Works. You let others copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of your work, not derivative works based upon it.
- Share Alike. You allow others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work.
Now, we can all get back to sharing.